Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries: Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom has cut natural gas supplies to two NATO member countries, Poland and Bulgaria, as the Ukraine conflict enters its third month.
The gas cuts in Poland and Bulgaria
In response to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for its offensive in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in March that his government would no longer accept payments in any currency other than the Ruble. Causing Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries.
According to the Associated Press, the Kremlin warned other countries that natural gas would be cut off if they did not agree to the payment agreement.
Gazprom’s move comes just hours after the Polish government imposed new sanctions on the company, Russian businesses, and oligarchs.
On the other hand, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov called the suspension of Gazprom “blackmail,” adding that his government would not fall for such a ruse.
Both NATO members are now receiving gas from their EU counterparts as Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries.
As a result, der Leyen believes that the use of Russian fossil fuels in Europe will be phased out soon.
The move of Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries, which European leaders dubbed “blackmail,” was a significant step forward in the economic war that has been ongoing concurrently with the fighting on the ground.
The reason for Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries in Poland and Bulgaria
Gazprom stated that the decision Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries was made on Wednesday because Poland and Bulgaria, both EU members, refused to pay in Rubles (Russian currency).
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Parliament on Wednesday that he believed the Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries resulted from Poland’s support for Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Moscow.
The tactic of Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries, which comes a day after the US and other Western allies vowed to send more and denser weapons to Ukraine, could eventually force targeted countries to ration gas, causing further harm to economies already struggling with rising prices. At the same time, it may prevent Russia from receiving funds for its war effort.
Poland has been a major source of weapons for Ukraine, and it confirmed this week that it is sending tanks to the country. Just hours before the company acted, Poland announced new sanctions against Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom and other Russian businesses and oligarchs.
Bulgaria’s new liberal government, which took office last fall, severed many of its old ties with Moscow and supported punitive measures against the Kremlin. It has also housed Western fighter jets at a new NATO base on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
The Russia cuts off gas to NATO countries do not put the two countries in jeopardy right away. Poland, in particular, has been working for many years to secure other suppliers, and the continent is approaching summer, which reduces the need for gas in households.
Dangers of gas cuts
The fight continued in the country’s east along a 300-mile-long (480-kilometer-long) front line on the battlefield.
Russia claimed that its missiles hit a shipment of weapons delivered to Ukraine by the US and European countries. Moreover, one person was killed, and at least two others were injured when rockets hit a residential area in Kharkiv.
According to Western officials who spoke on anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, Russia has produced slow progress in the eastern Donbas region, with “minor gains” such as the capture of villages and small rural communities in the south of Izyum and in the suburbs of Rubizhne.
The governor of Luhansk, Sergey Haidai, stated that Russia had made some progress toward Rubizhne through almost constant bombardment. Still, Ukrainian troops fought back and retreated only if nothing was left to protect.
“There is no point in staying on territory that has been fired on so often that every meter is well known,” the governor said.
According to Western officials, some Russian troops have been relocated from the devastated southern port city of Mariupol to other parts of the Donbas.
On the other hand, some have remained in Mariupol to fight Ukrainian forces stationed at the Azovstal steel plant, the city’s last stronghold. Around 1,000 civilians and an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian defenders were said to be taking refuge there.
“The situation is very difficult. In a Facebook video message, there are huge problems with water and food,” Serhii Volynskyi, commander of the marine unit inside the plant.
Furthermore, he said that children, the elderly, and the disabled were among those insides. He stated that many people had been injured and needed to be taken to the hospital.
Explosions were heard near a TV tower in Kherson, a Black Sea port city occupied by Russian forces since the war began. At least some Russian television channels were taken offline, if only for a short time.
According to the governor, an ammunition depot in Russia’s Belgorod region burned after hearing multiple explosions. Blasts were also reported near the border in Russia’s Kursk region, and authorities in Russia’s Voronezh region said an air defense system shot down a drone.