Santiago, Apr 27 (EFE).- Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria was “an act of aggression” that highlights the bloc’s dependency on fossil fuels and the urgent need to switch to renewable energy, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said on Wednesday.
Josep Borrell, who is on an official visit to Chile, said that Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas has “gone too far” and that Moscow’s announcement “will only accelerate Europe’s conversion to green energies that do not create dependencies and that do not harm the climate.”
“What Russia is doing now is no more and no less than spurring us on to do that even faster. We have the means to deal with it. And we will face this new act of aggression jointly and in solidarity. Europeans can be sure of this,” he added.
Russian state energy company Gazprom on Wednesday cut off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria due to their refusal to pay in rubles, a demand from Moscow that most of the countries of the EU reject.
“An interruption of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria raises the tension a little more and turns dependencies into weapons. And that is why we must avoid the dependencies that make us vulnerable. That is why we have a path to walk together in the development of renewable energies, in the fight against climate change and in making economic growth serve to reduce inequalities,” Borrell said.
So far, the supply cut is the harshest reaction Russia has taken in retaliation for the measures imposed by the West to the freezing of the reserves of the Russian Central Bank and the disconnection of several Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system.
At a press conference with Chile’s President Gabriel Boric, Borrell recalled that “the European Union has taken against Russia the largest package of economic, financial, diplomatic and commercial sanctions” in its history.
“We have directly and personally sanctioned more than 1,000 Russian government officials (…) Starting with Mr [Vladimir] Putin,” said the high representative.
The supply cut to Poland and Bulgaria monopolized much of the joint press conference offered by Borrell after his meeting with Boric, who described the war as “unacceptable” and asked Russia to “withdraw its troops” from Ukraine.
The Chilean president, who at 36 is the youngest in the country’s history, has always been blunt against Russia, unlike other leftist leaders in the region, who have been more ambiguous in their condemnations.
“In the face of the climate crisis, we hope to continue collaborating with the European Union based on the shared horizon we have of carbon neutrality, which the war has also accelerated,” he added.
The meeting with Boric was the first item on Borrell’s agenda in Chile, an important partner for Europe in the region and with which the modernization of the Association Agreement in force for almost two decades is being negotiated.
“I have no doubt that we will be successful in closing the deal within a reasonable timeframe,” Boric said.
The EU is the top foreign investor in Chile and its third-largest commercial partner. EFE