Yermak: Russia starts gas blackmail of Europe over rouble payment spat

Yermak: Russia starts gas blackmail of Europe over rouble payment spat

The Russian Federation is blackmailing Europe over the latter’s refusal to pay for gas supplied in Russian roubles, arguing that Moscow uses energy as its weapon.

The opinion was expressed by the head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak on his Telegram channel, Ukrinform reports.

Poland’s PGNiG earlier today said that Russia's Gazprom would suspend gas supplies to Poland on April 27 due to "non-compliance with payment terms."

At the same time, according to Yermak, the Polish media write that the supply has already stopped. The reason was Poland's refusal to pay in roubles.

Read also: France doesn’t need Russian gas, supports energy embargo - Macron

"We are witnessing a typical Russian move to raise stakes and their departure from rules and obligations. The EU has repeatedly said that it will not pay for gas in roubles because the signed contracts have no mention of payments in ‘wooden’ currency. Russia is trying to split unity of our allies" he said.

Yermak stressed that Russia is once again proving that it sees energy resources as a weapon it can use. That is why the EU needs to stay united and impose an embargo on Russian  energy, depriving the Kremlin of its energy weapons.

The chief of the President’s Office also recalled that Poland had previously announced its intention to abandon Russian gas in 2023. Other EU countries are also looking for ways to diversify energy supplies.

In late March, Russian President Putin signed a decree requiring countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its armed aggression against Ukraine to pay for gas in roubles, not dollars or euros. Most EU countries buying gas from Russia have snubbed the demand. The European Commission has declared Moscow's ultimatum illegitimate.

The so-called Yamal Treaty between Poland and Russia, signed in 1996 and subsequently renewed, provides for the annual supply of about 10 billion cubic meters of gas. According to the take-or-pay formula imposed by Gazprom on a Polish company, PGNiG must buy at least 8.7 bcm of gas annually (by the end of 2022). Poland has already declared it will not renew the deal.

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