(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 07, 2021 Gazprom logo is seen during the International Gas Forum, at the Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Centre in Saint Petersburg. . (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP)
MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia’s energy giant Gazprom said Wednesday it had stopped all gas supplies to Poland and highly dependent Bulgaria after not receiving payment in rubles from the two EU members.
President Vladimir Putin last month said Russia will only accept payment for deliveries in its national currency, with buyers required to set up ruble accounts or have their taps turned off.
Gazprom said in a statement it notified Bulgaria’s state-owned gas operator Bulgargaz and Poland’s PGNiG gas firm about the “suspension of gas supplies from April 27 until payment is made” in rubles.
“Starting April 1, payments for gas need to be made using new bank details, about which the counterparts were informed in a timely manner,” Gazprom said.
The energy giant also warned that if Bulgaria or Poland make an “unauthorised withdrawal” of Russian gas that is transiting to third countries, “supplies for transit will be reduced by this volume”.
Both Poland and Bulgaria — which is almost completely dependent on Russia for its annual consumption of gas — said they were notified by Gazprom on Tuesday that supplies would be cut off the next day.
Bulgaria’s economy ministry said the country “fully met its obligations and has made all payments required under its current contract in a timely manner”.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland’s gas storage facilities were 76 percent full and that the country was ready to obtain necessary supplies from sources other than the Yamal pipeline.
© Agence France-Presse