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Russia stops natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

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First Poland, then Bulgaria: Russia stops delivering important raw materials. © Sergei Grits/AP/dpa

Russia is getting serious: On Tuesday evening, the Polish government announced that it would no longer receive Russian gas from Wednesday. Bulgaria follows a little later. What does that mean for Germany?

Sofia – Poland and Bulgaria will no longer receive natural gas from Russia as of Wednesday. The Ministry of Energy in Sofia confirmed on Tuesday evening that the Bulgarian natural gas utility Bulgargas had received a corresponding notification from Gazprom. Shortly before, the government in Warsaw and the Polish natural gas company PGNiG had announced that from Wednesday there would be no more Russian gas deliveries to Poland. These steps will probably not have a direct impact on Germany’s security of supply.

The security of supply in Germany is currently still guaranteed, said a spokeswoman for Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) on Tuesday evening after the news from Poland. “We are monitoring the situation closely.”

From Wednesday morning, 8:00 a.m., Russian gas will no longer flow through the Yamal pipeline to Poland, said Poland’s climate minister Anna Moskwa. However, gas from Russia usually does not flow to Germany via the Yamal pipeline, according to data from the Federal Network Agency. According to information from Warsaw, the effects of the delivery stop are also minor for Poland. “We are prepared for a complete cessation of Russian supplies of raw materials.” Since the first days of the Ukraine war, your country has declared that it is ready for complete independence from Russian raw materials.

Germany gets gas via Nord Stream 1

Polish Government Commissioner for Strategic Energy Infrastructure Piotr Naimski assured that gas will continue to flow to Germany via Nord Stream 1. And all gas customers in Poland would continue to receive the raw material at the previous level.

The Ministry of Energy in Sofia announced on Tuesday evening that Bulgaria has also taken steps towards an alternative gas supply. For the time being, there is no need to limit gas consumption, it said. Energy Minister Aleksandar Nikolov wanted to comment on the freeze on deliveries of natural gas from Russia on Wednesday.

Bulgaria has “completely fulfilled” its commitments and made all payments “timely and strictly” required by the current contract, the Energy Ministry said in a statement. However, the Bulgarian online portal Mediapool reports that the April 18 gas payment for May was made in the usual way, and not through two newly opened accounts at Gazprom Bank, as requested by Gazprom – in dollars and in rubles. Poland also does not want to pay for natural gas using this account solution in rubles, as Russia has demanded.

Putin demands payments for gas in rubles

At the end of March, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin demanded that Western countries open accounts with the Gazprom Bank effective April 1 in order to pay for Russian gas supplies. Otherwise, deliveries to the “unfriendly” countries would be stopped. According to a decree signed by Putin, payments can still be deposited into the Russian account in euros or dollars. Gazprombank converts the money into rubles and transfers the amount in Russian currency to Gazprom. If the payments were not made, deliveries would be stopped, Putin had threatened.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov had announced before the latest news from Russia that no more gas should flow to Bulgaria that a Bulgarian government delegation would travel to Kyiv on Wednesday.

Bulgaria has been a member of the EU since 2007, but is still almost completely dependent on natural gas supplies from Russia. A connection to the gas network in neighboring Greece should be ready in June. In this way, the EU country wants to diversify its gas supply sources and also obtain gas from other countries.

According to information from the beginning of April, a gas storage facility near Chiren in northwestern Bulgaria is said to be 20 percent full, the Bulgarian state radio reported without giving specific figures. dpa

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