Russia cuts gas supply to Europe through Poland

Russia continues to respond to Western sanctions with energy supply cuts to the countries of central Europe.

Russia cuts gas supply to Europe through Poland

Russia continues to respond to Western sanctions with energy supply cuts to the countries of central Europe. Russian gas giant Gazprom announced Thursday that it is no longer using the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline that runs through Poland. The company has stopped using this branch -key to the gas supply in the event that the tap through the Ukrainian route is closed-, by explicit order of the Kremlin, according to Gazprom itself in a statement.

The decision of the government of Vladimir Putin was published on Wednesday and prohibits Gazprom from cooperating with EuRoPol GAZ, the company that owns the Polish section of the pipeline. The cut is part of a new package of Russian sanctions against 31 companies from the European Union, the United States and Singapore in response to Western sanctions.

Many of the other companies sanctioned belong to Gazprom Germania, the German subsidiary of the Russian gas giant, which Germany brought under its control last April because of its strategic importance.

On the same note, Gazprom justifies the decision on the alleged breaches of the European side. Specifically, it underlines that "the Polish side repeatedly violated Gazprom's rights as a shareholder of EuRoPol GAZ and on April 26, 2022 placed Gazprom on the sanctions list, blocking the possibility of the company exercising rights on shares and other securities of EuRoPol GAZ to receive dividends".

This Russian move comes on top of a significant reduction in Russian deliveries through Ukraine due to the war. In fact, shipments through Ukraine were already down substantially on Wednesday after a key cross-border entry point was put out of action due to troop activity on the ground, Ukrainian authorities said. The Yamal-Europe pipeline, barely used this year, had been seen as a possible alternative route in the event that Russian shipments through Ukraine are completely stopped by the conflict.

Gazprom had already stopped supplies to Gazprom Germania GmbH in retaliation for Europe's sanctions over the war in Ukraine. As assured this Thursday by the German Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, the new retaliatory measure could reduce imports of Russian gas to Germany by around 3%. The new Russian sanctions come just two weeks after Gazprom halted supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after both countries refused to pay for deliveries in rubles, as Moscow demanded.

The package of sanctions approved yesterday by Moscow also includes the prohibition of transactions and the entry into Russian ports of ships linked to the companies in question.


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