Russian energy company Gazprom has halted natural gas supplies to Poland as the country failed to pay in roubles, the climate and environment minister has announced. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called the announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally halting delivery of gas to Poland and Bulgaria “an instrument of blackmail.”
“Russian gas has not been flowing to Poland via the Yamal pipeline since Wednesday morning, the tap was turned off,” Anna Moskwa told Polish Radio on Wednesday morning.
Moskwa said that PGNiG “could not agree to it for obvious reasons.”
“There is a binding contract that defines the rules of payment… there are no Putin decrees in force in Poland,” she added.
On Tuesday evening, Polish state-owned gas company PGNiG said it had been informed by Gazprom that gas supplies to Poland along the Yamal pipeline would be halted at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
Russia’s oil and gas giant Gazprom turned off natural gas supplies to Poland via the Yamal pipeline, widely seen as retaliation for Poland’s refusal to follow Russia’s demands for buyers of its gas to pay for it in the Russian currency, the rouble.
Von der Leyen said a meeting of the gas coordination group is taking place right now. “We are prepared for this scenario. We are in close contact with all member states. We have been working to ensure alternative deliveries and the best possible storage levels across the EU,” she said.
Poland is increasing gas imports via its LNG terminal in Swinoujscie, north-western Poland, and expects a pipeline across the Baltic Sea from Norwegian gas fields to be up and running in October this year when Poland’s long-term gas contract with Gazprom expires.
“This is unjustified and unacceptable. And it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier,” von der Leyen said on Wednesday morning.
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