Russia is cutting off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria because the two countries have refused Moscow's demand to pay in rubles instead of dollars or euros, officials say. This is the first time Russia has cut off any country's gas supply since it launched its invasion of Ukraine, the Telegraph reports. Polish officials say they were prepared for the move and they will not meet Moscow's demands. "We have been threatened with the suspension of gas supplies by Gazprom and have taken steps to diversify supplies," said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. "We will protect Poland against this Russian measure."
Vladimir Putin warned last month that "unfriendly" countries would have to pay state-owned firm Gazprom in rubles, the AP reports. Polish officials say Gazprom has told them supplies will be cut off starting Wednesday. Poland has strongly supported Ukraine since the Russian invasion, providing weapons and taking in more than a million refugees. This week, Warsaw confirmed that it was sending tanks to Ukraine—and placing new sanctions on dozens of Russian oligarchs and companies, including Gazprom.
Poland currently gets around 55% of its gas from Russia but it has been trying to reduce its reliance on Russian energy for years and will replace Russian gas with gas from Norway when a new pipeline opens this year, per the Telegraph. The country has also expanded a liquefied natural gas terminal to take more supplies from the US and other countries. The Guardian reports that Warsaw has been pushing other EU countries, including Germany, to do more to cut Russian imports. According to the NGO Europe Beyond Coal, the EU has paid Russia more than $43 billion for fossil fuels since the invasion began. (Read more Russia stories.)