European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today called the cut in gas supplies from Russia to Poland and Bulgaria “blackmail”, but said the bloc was “prepared” for the lack of supply after the announcement made by the government of President Vladimir Putin.
The announcement about the interruption was made yesterday by the company Gazprom, under allegations that the company had not received payment in rubles from the two member countries of the EU (European Union).
The Gazprom announcement is another attempt by Russia to blackmail us with gas. We are prepared for this scenario. We are defining a coordinated EU-wide response. Europeans can trust that we are united and in solidarity with the affected Member States.
Ursula will der leyenPresident of the European Commission
Bulgaria and Poland refused to pay for the supply in Russian currency. The demand was made by Russia to countries considered “hostile”, with the aim of protecting the ruble’s value from sanctions imposed since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on February 24.
According to Bloomberg news agency, four European buyers have already paid for Russian gas in rubles, a person close to Gazprom said.
Bulgaria also denounces ‘unacceptable blackmail’
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Pettkov today denounced “unacceptable blackmail” after Russian group Gazprom suspended gas supplies to the country and Poland, both members of the European Union (EU).
The interruption, decided because these countries did not pay for supplies in rubles, as Russia demands in response to Western sanctions, “constitutes a serious breach of contract,” Petkov said.
“We’re not going to give in to blackmail like that,” he said.
*With information from AFP