Russia seeks to divide Western allies: Poland

A Russian gas mine owned by Gazprom. Photo: Reuters

Md. Ashraful Islam: Russian energy company Gazprom has reacted sharply against Poland after it cut off gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria.

Poland’s deputy foreign minister has told the BBC that Russia wants to use the gas to create divisions among its Western allies.

Warsaw leaders say Moscow’s move amounts to “blackmail.” Meanwhile, European Commission President von der Leyen has also criticized Russia.

He says Russia’s actions prove that it is not “reliable” as an energy supplier. Von der Leyen also commented that the era of Russian fossil fuels is coming to an end in Europe.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the criticism, calling Moscow a reliable energy partner.

Russia’s Gazprom has cut off gas supplies to Bulgarian Bulgaria and Polish PGNIG for refusing to pay in rubles.

On March 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the price of imported gas to “non-aligned” countries must be paid in rubles, otherwise existing energy agreements would be suspended.

Russia’s energy company Gazprom said in a statement on Wednesday that it had cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in accordance with a decree issued by Putin.

As Bulgaria and Poland are Russia’s transit countries for gas supplies to Europe, Gazprom also warned in a statement that if gas sent to third countries was extracted without permission, the amount of gas extracted would be deducted from the transit supply.

Poland’s state gas company PGNIG has confirmed that Gazprom has cut off supplies to their country.

However, PGNIG has the right to claim compensation for this, and the company has warned that all contractual and legal approaches will be taken to do so.

The Polish president also threatened to take “appropriate legal action” against Gazprom.


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