After Russia cut off energy supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, the EU claims Russia is attempting to blackmail Europe with gas supply.

After Russia stopped selling gas to Poland and Bulgaria, the European Union accused Russia of ‘blackmail.’

On Wednesday, April 27, Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) announced that it has suspended supplies to Poland and Bulgaria for failing to pay for gas in roubles (Russia’s currency), marking Moscow’s harshest response yet to Western sanctions over the Ukraine war.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said the EU was working on a coordinated response to Moscow’s aggression.

“Gazprom’s announcement that it will unilaterally stop delivering gas to consumers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as a tool of blackmail,” said Ursula von der Leyen.

“This is inexcusable and unjustified. It also demonstrates Russia’s unreliability as a gas supplier “In a statement, she said.

Von der Leyen stated that the EU was prepared for this scenario and that work to assure alternate gas supply will continue.

All EU countries are required to have a contingency plan in place in the event of a gas supply disruption. According to the EU, its gas storage capacity is currently 32 percent filled.

According to von der Leyen, the EU is working on a coordinated reaction to Russia’s escalation.

Following Russia’s Gazprom’s surprise declaration on Tuesday, Poland’s climate ministry stated its energy supplies were secure and there was no need to cut delivery to consumers.

In March, Moscow issued an order requiring European energy importers to create accounts with Gazprombank in order to pay for gas in roubles.

Russia made the announcement in response to Western sanctions placed on Russia as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission also warned on Wednesday that companies should continue to pay Gazprom in the currency stipulated in their contracts, which are 97 percent in euros or dollars, and that paying in roubles would violate EU sanctions on Russia.

However, according to Brussels, EU companies may be able to pay for gas legally under Russia’s order if they can prove that their contractual duties are fulfilled when they deposit euros with Gazprombank, rather than later, after Russia converts the cash into roubles.

By paying for gas in Russian currency, the EU’s united front against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may be shattered.

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