Polish and Bulgarian officials said Tuesday that Russia is cutting off gas exports to their countries due to their refusal to pay in Russian rubles. Vladimir Putin demanded that NATO and other countries would be required to pay in rubles if they wanted to continue buying Russian energy in a statement last month. Both countries could face serious energy shortages due to large reliance on Russian exports.
Gazprom, a Russian state-owned gas company, informed the two EU and NATO member nations that gas exports will be suspended starting Wednesday, their governments said. The suspensions would be the first since Putin’s announcement that “unfriendly foreign buyers” would have to pay in rubles as opposed to dollars or Euros.
So far, only Hungary has agreed to honor Russia’s terms.
If deliveries are indeed suspended, it would send already skyrocketing fuel costs soaring even higher in Europe and could lead to rationing. European gas prices soared upwards of 17% after the report and are expected to rise even higher.
Wednesday’s cutoffs will affect deliveries of Russian gas to Poland through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, according to Polish state gas company PGNiG. The Yamal-Europe carries gas from Russia to Poland and Germany, via Belarus. Poland has been receiving some 9 billion cubic meters annually, fulfilling some 45% of the country’s need, according to the Associated Press.
PGNig is confident that they can overcome the challenges that will arise if Russian gas exports are no longer an option for their country. “We are completely prepared to become completely independent of Russian gas supplies to Poland in 2022,” Piotr Naimksi, a member of Poland’s parliament told Europe’s Economic Congress earlier this year.