The announcement by Russian gas giant Gazprom that it had halted supplies to some European customers is “unjustified and unacceptable,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday, adding that the EU was working on a coordinated response to Moscow’s escalation.
Gazprom said on Wednesday that it had halted gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria for failing to pay for gas in roubles, marking Moscow’s toughest response yet to Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.
Von der Leyen stated that the EU was prepared for this scenario and that it would continue to work to ensure alternative gas supplies and that gas storage was full. EU regulations require all countries to have a plan in place to deal with a gas supply shock.
The Commission has stated that companies should continue to pay Gazprom in the currency agreed in their contracts, which are 97 percent in euros or dollars, and that paying in roubles would violate the EU’s sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The EU’s gas storage capacity is currently 32% full. EU countries are negotiating emergency rules that would require them to fill storage 80 percent by November of this year in order to form a supply buffer in time for winter, when demand for gas heating is at its peak.