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Russian gas halt ‘direct attack on Poland’: PM

27.04.2022 13:15
The Polish prime minister on Wednesday said that Russia’s decision to cut off gas supplies to his country represented “a direct attack on Poland” and “a revenge for sanctions.”
Polands Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addresses lawmakers in the lower house of parliament on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addresses lawmakers in the lower house of parliament on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.Twitter/KPRM

Mateusz Morawiecki made the remark in a speech to lawmakers in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The prime minister said: “It’s a direct attack on Poland, a country that showed yesterday what it means to strike a real blow against Russian oligarchs.”

“We published the first list of Russian oligarchs, Russian entrepreneurs [to be sanctioned] and in revenge for this, the Kremlin made a threat yesterday, a threat to cut off gas, and this morning this threat was carried out,” Morawiecki added.

'We have been preparing for this for years'

He reiterated his assurances that Poland would manage without Russian gas.

“We have been preparing for this for years,” he said, noting that Poland had built a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northwestern port of Świnoujście, while a new pipeline, known as the Baltic Pipe, "will start delivering gas from Norway in October.”

In addition, Poland can source gas from the likes of Germany, the Czech Republic and Lithuania “via interconnectors,” Morawiecki told MPs.

'Russian gas blackmail won’t have any effect on Poland'

Morawiecki said that with the launch of the Baltic Pipe, Poland would achieve “full gas sovereignty,” so that “the Russian gas blackmail won’t have any effect on Poland whatsoever.”

'Energy and food security of all of Europe'

The prime minister told lawmakers that Gazprom’s decision was yet another attempt by Russia “to drive up inflation in Europe.”

He said: “Russia has not only made a brutal, murderous attack on Ukraine … it has assaulted the energy and food security of all of Europe.”

Morawiecki added: “It’s a fight for freedom, for sovereignty, for security, a fight for peace ... We cannot afford to budge, and we won’t."

Russia cuts off gas to Poland

The controversy erupted on Tuesday when Russia’s energy giant Gazprom announced it would suspend its gas deliveries from 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Gazprom cited Poland's "refusal to pay for the gas in roubles” as a reason for its move, Polish state gas company PGNiG said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month ordered foreign buyers to pay for gas in the Russian currency or else have the supplies cancelled, according to news outlets.  

Poland’s Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa on Wednesday confirmed that Russia had shut off gas deliveries in the morning.

She said Gazprom was in breach of contract.

“We have a binding contract that sets payment rules,” Moskwa told public broadcaster Polish Radio. "Putin’s decrees do not apply in Poland."

'It's blackmail': EU's von der Leyen

Meanwhile, the European Union’s executive, the European Commission, was scheduled to hold a meeting on Russian gas imports later on Wednesday. 

The president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accused Russia of “blackmail” after its move to halt gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria.  

Wednesday was day 63 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP