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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

EU’s von der Leyen accuses Russia of 'blackmail' after gas supplies halted to Poland, Bulgaria

27.04.2022 11:00
European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen has said that Russian energy firm Gazprom's decision to stop delivering gas to Poland and Bulgaria is "yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail."
Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der LeyenPAP/EPA/YVES HERMAN / POOL

Gazprom announced on Wednesday it had halted gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria for failing to pay for gas in roubles, the Kremlin's toughest retaliation yet to international sanctions over the war in Ukraine, news agencies reported.

"The announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail," the EU's von der Leyen said in statement, adding that "this is unjustified and unacceptable."

"And it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier," von der Leyen said.

She added: "We are prepared for this scenario. We are in close contact with all Member States. We have been working to ensure alternative deliveries and the best possible storage levels across the EU."

Von der Leyen also said in her statement that EU member states "have put in place contingency plans for just such a scenario and we worked with them in coordination and solidarity."

The statement said that a "meeting of the gas coordination group" was "taking place right now."

It continued: "We are mapping out our coordinated EU response.

"We will also continue working with international partners to secure alternative flows.

"And I will continue working with European and world leaders to ensure the security of energy supply in Europe.

"Europeans can trust that we stand united and in full solidarity with the Member States impacted in the face of this new challenge. Europeans can count on our full support."

The Polish prime minister told reporters on Tuesday that his country had sufficient reserves and alternative supply routes after Russia said it was suspending gas supplies to Poland under a long-term contract.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters