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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish gas bills help Russia finance arms production: official

16.06.2020 13:30
The money that Poland pays Russia for gas supplies is later used by the Kremlin to finance the production of arms, a Polish official warned on Tuesday.
Piotr Naimski
Piotr NaimskiPR/MS

Piotr Naimski, the Polish government's pointman on strategic energy infrastructure, reiterated his earlier announcement that his country would stop buying Russian gas after its long-term supply contract with Russia’s state-owned producer Gazprom expires in 2022.

He told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Tuesday that money Russia was earning from gas and oil sales, including those under the Polish long-term contract, was feeding its state budget “and subsequently used to finance the development of missiles with which the Russians threaten Poland” from their Kaliningrad region across the Polish border.

“Not one more dollar from Poland should go to aid the Russian budget," Naimski said.

A day earlier, officials in Warsaw announced that Russia’s Gazprom would by July 1 return around USD 1.5 billion that Poland’s PGNiG overpaid for gas, following a ruling by an international arbitration court.

The money is to be handed over by the Russians under an annex to the Yamal contract signed by Gazprom and the Polish state-run oil and gas company.

“This is the result of consistent and very effective efforts” by PGNiG managers, Naimski told Polish Radio on Tuesday.

 “For several years this case was pending in arbitration and … PGNiG argued effectively in legal terms and eventually won this dispute,” he added.

"One should be glad that this is how it panned out, but at the same time it needs to be remembered that Gazprom remains part of the Russian state," he also said.

Poland’s PGNiG in November told Gazprom it would not renew the long-term deal on Russian gas imports when the contract expires at the end of 2022.

"We need to be consistent in our national security strategy,” Naimski told Polish Radio. “We are effectively striving to ensure that NATO troops are stationed on the eastern flank of the alliance, in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, because we are afraid of reactive, revisionist Russian policy in our region.”

Naimski, who serves as Secretary of State for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, said last month that a new pipeline from Denmark would boost Poland’s energy security and put an end to the country's dependence on Russia for gas, while depriving Moscow of a pressure tool.

(gs/pk)

Source: energetyka24.com, PAP