The European Union will work to ensure that the decision by Russian giant Gazprom to discontinue deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria will have the least possible impact on consumers, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday (April 27th). compared the Kremlin’s gesture to “blackmail.”
Moscow says the gas shutdown is to impose its ruble payment requirement, which is needed to protect its economy from international sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Von der Leyen told a news conference in Brussels that the Kremlin had failed to “sow division” between EU member states and that they were working to overcome the deficit.
“Gazprom’s announcement that it is unilaterally stopping gas supplies to certain EU member states is another challenge from the Kremlin. But it’s no surprise that the Kremlin is using fossil fuels to try to blackmail us. This is something that the European Commission has prepared for in close coordination and solidarity with the Member States and international partners. Our response will be immediate, unified and coordinated, “she said.
Gazprom, the state-controlled gas monopoly that supplies Europe with about 40 percent of its gas needs, said transit through Poland and Bulgaria – whose pipelines supply Germany, Hungary and Serbia – would be disrupted if the fuel was illegally siphoned off.
Fears that several countries could be affected, especially Germany, Europe’s industrial power, which in 2021 relied on Russia for more than 50% of its gas, have led to rising gas prices.
However, von der Leyen said the EU states were working to strengthen Poland’s and Bulgaria’s supply from other sources.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was a reliable energy supplier.
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