Russia halts gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria

  • Poland cut for gas supplies, no word on Bulgaria
  • Blackmailing Europe of Ukraine accuses Russia
  • Germany sends tanks to Ukraine
  • Britain says Ukraine controls most of its airspace

WARSAW / SOFIA / KYIV, April 27 (Reuters) – Russian energy firm Gazprom (GAZP.MM) said on Wednesday it had ruled out halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for failing to pay for gas, and Kremlin’s toughest retaliation yet to international sanctions. over the war in Ukraine.

Poland confirmed that supplies had been cut, while Bulgaria said it would be out soon. Gazprom of breaching longstanding supply contracts.

“Because of all the trade and legal obligations observed, it is clear that at the moment natural gas is being used as a political and economic weapon in the current war,” Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said.

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Gazprom said in a statement that it had “completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgargaz and PGNiG (PGN.WA) due to non-payment payments,” referring to the Polish and Bulgarian gas companies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that buyers from “unfriendly” countries pay for gas payments or be cut off, starting from the date of payment. The European Union has rejected this demand as rewriting contracts for payment in euros.

Poland receives its Russian gas through the Yamal-Europe pipeline in Russia’s huge gas fields north of the Arctic. Bulgaria is supplied through pipes over Turkey.

Gazprom had cut from its supply of Polish state-owned PGNiG (PGN.WA) but said it was still supplying its own clients.

“Cutting gas supplies are a breach of contract and PGNiG reserves the right to seek compensation and legal and legal means to do so,” the company said.

Supplies from Gazprom (GAZP.MM) cover about 50% of Poland’s consumption and about 90% of Bulgaria’s. Poland said it did not need reserves and its gas storage was 76% full. Bulgaria has said it is in talks to try and import imported natural gas through Turkey and Greece.

Russia’s energy exports have continued until the end of the war, when the biggest loophole in the world has been sanctions.

Kyiv has called on Europe to stop funding energy cuts by bringing Russia’s money to a day.

Germany, the biggest buyer of Russian energy, said this week it is going to stop importing Russian oil within days. But weaning Europe off cheap and abundant Russian natural gas, which heats its houses, fuels its factories and drives its electric power plants, would be a far more disruptive prospect.

Andriy Yermak, Chief of Staff to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Russia was “the beginning of the black blackmail of Europe”.

“Russia is trying to shatter the unity of our allies,” Yermak said.

Since the Russian invasion force has been driven by the outskirts of Kyiv for the last month, Moscow has refocused its operation on Eastern Ukraine, launching a new offensive with several directions to capture two provinces known as the Donbas.

Ukraine’s general staff acknowledged that Russia had made gains in a number of areas in the east, including the towing of the towns of Velyka Komyshuvakha and Zavody on one front, and the Zarichne and Novoshtokivske settlements in the Donetsk region.

Russia’s defense ministry said its missiles had struck an arms depot in the Zaporizhzhia region housing weapons from the United States and European countries.

An aide to the Mayor of the port city of Mariupol said Russian forces had renewed their attacks on the Azovstal steel plant, where fighters and some civilians were holed up. No agreements have been reached with evacuate civilians from Mariupol on Wednesday, aide Petro Andryushchenko said.

Ukraine said it had been attacked by Snake Island, a Black Sea outpost seized by Russia in the early years of the war, when the rebels became heroes for Ukrainians with a Russian demand for surrender.

There has been increasing concern over the prospect of a conflict in neighboring Moldova, where pro-Russian separatists have occupied a small area since the 1990s, with several explosions reported in recent days.

The invasion of Ukraine left more than 5 million people fleeing abroad, reduced towns and cities to rubble, and more.

Moscow calls its actions a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West call this a pretext for an unprovoked war to seize territory.

The United States and its allies have been supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons for the east. More than 40 countries met on a US air base in Germany on Tuesday to discuss Ukraine’s defense. Anti-aircraft guns equipped with Gepard light tanks, including Germany’s first delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. read more

Blasts were heard in the early hours of Wednesday in three Russian provinces in Bordering Ukraine, officials said, and an ammunition depot in the Belgorod province caught fire. The regional governor said the village of Staraya Nelidovka near the blaze had been put out and no civilians had been hurt. read more

Russia is attacking a fuel depot in Russia this month. A massive fire also broke out this week at a fuel depot in nearby Bryansk. Ukraine does not confirm responsibility for reported Russian territory.

British military intelligence said Ukraine had retained control of most of its air space and Russia had failed to destroy Ukraine’s air force or its air defenses.

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Additional reporting by Reuters journalists; Writing by Michael Perry and Peter Graff; Editing by Robert Birsel and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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