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    Russia halts Yamal gas supplies to Poland

    Russia has stopped natural gas supplies to Poland via its Yamal pipeline, the Onet.pl website reported on Tuesday quoting unofficial sources.

    According to the sources, the move may be Moscow’s response to Poland’s refusal to follow Russia’s recent demands for buyers of its gas to pay for it in the Russian currency, the rouble.

    The sources said that the rouble payment deadline for Poland passed last Friday, Onet.pl wrote. The news service added that there has as yet been no confirmation by the Russian side that the shutdown is connected with the failing rouble payments. 

    Onet.pl also reported on a crisis sitting at the climate ministry in connection with the situation.

    According to PGNiG, the halt of supplies is a breach of the Yamal contract. In a statement published on Tuesday, the company said that it will take steps to reinstate the flow of gas according to the Yamal contract, and that it has the right to pursue damages over the breach of contract. 

    PGNiG wrote that it was a Russian response to Poland’s refusal to follow Moscow’s recent demands for buyers of its gas to pay for it in the Russian currency, the rouble. The Russian president signed a decree to this effect on March 31.

    “Poland has been threatened by Gazprom, which has decided to halt gas supplies to Poland,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a visit to Berlin.

    “Poland has long been preparing diversification of gas supplies,” Morawiecki stated. “We will be able to protect the Polish economy and the Polish people against this dramatic step taken by Russia even before the Baltic Pipe has been launched,” he added.

    The Baltic Pipe gas pipeline will allow the transport of gas from Norway to the Danish and Polish markets, and should be fully operational in October this year.

    Morawiecki also said that Poland’s current gas reserves equalled 76 per cent of its total gas storage capacity and that this level was much higher than in the majority of European countries. 

    “Poland will be able to use its own resources and purchase gas from all possible sources,” he added and said that Poland had interconnectors to Germany and the Czech Republic, and a terminal in Swinoujscie, north-western Poland, which would be able to receive more Liquefied Natural Gas. 

    “Poland is safe with regard to energy supplies,” Morawiecki stated, adding that Polish industry had also been taken care of.

    “Maybe we will have to use more radical protection measures, but we are well prepared,” he concluded. 

    Aid for war-torn Ukraine dominated Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s Tuesday talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

    “Chancellor Olaf Scholz and I discussed ways in which Poland and Germany could join forces to help Ukraine to the furthest possible extent,” Morawiecki told reporters after the talks.

    Morawiecki underlined the importance of military aid for Ukraine and stressed that Ukraine’s victory over Russia largely depended on “bold decisions” regarding arms supplies to the country.

    Morawiecki said Ukraine was especially in need of anti-tank and air defence weaponry, as well as ammunition. He added that Poland was supplying Ukraine with military gear and was also overseeing international supplies of arms to the country’s army.

    Morawiecki said Scholz promised further arms supplies to Ukraine. 

    “We also spoke about a mechanism by which Germany could supplement our defensive potential, which has been temporarily weakened after we sent some of our arms (to Ukraine – PAP),” Morawiecki said and added that Poland would like to receive arms from its Nato allies, “including – I think – also possible arms supplies from Germany.”

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