Updated Apr 27, 2022 - World

Russia says it has cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

Facilities of the Mallnow natural gas compressor station of Gascade Gastransport GmbH.
Facilities of the Mallnow natural gas compressor station near the German-Polish border. Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Russia's majority state-owned energy company Gazprom announced Wednesday morning that it has "fully" cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

The latest: Gazprom said that it halted the deliveries to the two NATO and EU member countries for the first time since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February "due to their failure to pay in rubles."

Driving the news: Russian President Vladimir Putin last month demanded that countries he deems "unfriendly" open accounts at Gazprombank and pay for Russian gas imports in rubles.

  • Gazprom told Poland and Bulgaria on Tuesday that gas supplies would be suspended at 8am Central European Time the following day if they did not comply with the rule — which the countries both repeatedly refused to do, the Guardian reports.

What they're saying: Poland's climate ministry said the country's energy supplies were secure and that there was no need to dip into gas reserves, according to Reuters.

  • Bulgarian officials said the Russian "proposal for a two-step payment procedure is in violation with the current contract and bears considerable risks for Bulgaria, including to make payments without receiving any gas deliveries from Russia," per AP.
  • Ukrainian officials denounced the move as a "gas blackmail of Europe," per AFP.

State of play: Poland's state gas company PGNiG said that it would work to reinstate gas in accordance with the Yamal contract, and noted that a suspension of supplies was a breach of contract, per Reuters.

  • Bulgaria also said it was working with state gas companies to find alternative sources.

Between the lines: Russia's oil and gas exports have not been subject to Europe-wide sanctions, though pressure is mounting to do so, Axios' Emily Peck writes.

  • Poland's government announced on Tuesday it was including Gazprom on a new sanctions list, according to Reuters.

Worth noting: Before Gazprom's announcement on Wednesday morning, Russian gas supplies to Poland were briefly halted, but they then resumed, according to European Union monitoring data.

  • Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria were "flowing for the time being," Vladimir Malinov, executive director of Bulgarian gas network operator Bulgartransgaz, told Reuters on Wednesday morning before Gazprom's announcement.
  • Data for the current situation was not immediately available.

By the numbers: Poland has relied on Gazprom for gas deliveries and about 50% of its imports come from the Russian company, per Reuters.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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