(Update: adds Moscow warning)
Krakow, Poland, Apr 27 (EFE).- Russian gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria have been stopped after they refused to pay in rubles, Russian gas company Gazprom said on Wednesday.
“Gazprom fully halts gas supplies to Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz and Poland’s PGNiG due to their failure to pay in rubles,” the state-controlled firm wrote on Twitter.
The Kremlin has warned that other EU countries could have their natural gas supplies cut off unless they pay in rubles.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow, spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “Russia was and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources to its consumers”, adding that “when payment deadlines approach, if some consumers decline to pay under the new system, then the president’s decree of course will be applied.”
Polish climate and environment minister Anna Moskwa, speaking to Polish radio, said Wednesday that Poland has alternative sources of supply and that there would be no shortage of gas in the country, despite Russia’s halt of exports.
“Stocks of gas stored in Poland are around 80%, which is a lot,” she said.
“At the moment, there is no need to look for new supplies: we have LNG supplies, we have the Czech interconnector and, at a given moment, we would resort to the Lithuanian interconnector.”
Polish gas company PGNiG, meanwhile, has said that the shutdown of Russian gas supplies had been scheduled since Friday, the day the Russian deadline to start paying for gas in rubles ended.
PGNiG added that cutting off gas supplies breaches the existing contract.
“The company will take the appropriate measures to restore the delivery of natural gas under the agreed conditions and reserves the right to claim its contractual rights,” the firm pointed out.
Accusing Moscow of “blackmail”, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called the Russian halt of gas deliveries “unjustified and unacceptable”.
“It shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier. We are prepared for this scenario.
“We have been working to ensure alternative deliveries and the best possible storage levels across the EU.” EFE