Russian energy giant Gazprom halted gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria over their failure to pay for gas in rubles, the state-owned company announced on Wednesday, as the Kremlin retaliates against Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, Gazprom said it has not received any payments from PGNiG or Bulgargaz, respectively Poland and Bulgaria’s state gas companies, since April 1.
Gas payments from “unfriendly” countries from that date must be made in rubles, according to an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gazprom said, adding that the relevant parties were “duly informed” of the requirement.
Deliveries will not resume until payments are made in line with Putin’s order, Gazprom added.
Gazprom threatened to cut European gas supplies further if Poland or Bulgaria—which host pipelines supplying gas from Russia to a number of other countries—take supplies meant for other countries.
Sofia and Warsaw have said steps have been taken to ensure alternative supplies of gas are available to offset the loss of Russian supplies and previously balked at Putin’s demand to pay in rubles.
Bulgarian energy minister Alexander Nikolov criticized the decision as a breach of contract as Bulgaria has already paid for Russian gas deliveries for April, according to Sky News and Reuters.
This is a developing story.