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Russia uses gas as weapon; cutting supply to 2 EU nations

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Russia uses gas as weapon; cutting supply to 2 EU nations
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Pokrovsk (Ukraine): Russia opened a new war front with a commercial measure against its opponents.

On Wednesday, Russia decided to shut off gas to two European Union nations, Poland and Bulgaria, that staunchly back Kyiv, a dramatic escalation in its conflict with Ukraine, and by implication with the West.

Russia appeared ready to use its most essential export as leverage. Predictably European gas prices shot up on the news reportedly by 24 per cent. The European Union commission's president called an attempt at "blackmail", reported PTI.

The decision came in a memo from state-owned Russian giant Gazprom saying that it had cut natural gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria because they refused to pay in Russian rubles, as President Vladimir Putin had demanded.

The company said it had not received any payment since the beginning of the month.

Gazprom's decision to cut gas to two European countries was another dark turn in the war, which has revived the geopolitical rifts of the Cold War and had an immediate impact. European gas prices spiked by as much as 24%.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, called the move a "weaponization of energy supplies" in a tweet.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the move as another Russian attempt to use gas as an instrument of blackmail.

Poland, a historical rival of Russia, has been a major gateway for the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and confirmed this week that it is sending the country tanks. It said it was well prepared for Wednesday's gas cutoff.s

Poland also has ample natural gas in storage, and it will soon benefit from two pipelines coming online, analyst Emily McClain of Rystad Energy said.

Bulgaria gets over 90% of its gas from Russia, and officials said they were working to find other sources, such as from Azerbaijan.

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TAGS:Ukraine war Russia to use gas as weapon Poland and Bulgaria won't receive Russian gas refused to pay in roouble 
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