Poland and Bulgaria receive gas from their EU neighbors, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.
This comes after Russian energy giant Gazprom on Wednesday stopped gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after both countries refused to pay the Russian energy giant in rubles, the company said in a statement.
In a statement, von der Leyen called it “another provocation from the Kremlin” and accused Moscow of using gas to “blackmail” the bloc.
“This is something the European Commission has prepared for in close coordination and solidarity with Member States and international partners. Our response will be immediate, united and coordinated,” she said in a statement. “Firstly, we want to ensure that Gazprom’s decision has the least impact on European consumers. Today, the Member States met in the Gas Coordination Group. Poland and Bulgaria updated us on the situation. Both Poland and Bulgaria are now receiving gas from their EU neighbors.”
The official also stressed the need for reliable energy partners and promised the end of the era of Russian fossil fuels in Europe.
Further in her opinion, she committed herself to securing a “medium-term” plan for adequate gas supply and storage, and also looked forward to investing in a “green transition.”
In the longer term, REPowerEU will also help us move towards a more reliable, secure and sustainable energy supply. We present our plans to accelerate the green transition in mid-May. Every euro we invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency is a payout on our future energy dependency, “she said.
Bulgaria is “in constant communication” with the European Commission as “common supplies at EU level are discussed,” Bulgaria’s energy ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
At a briefing in the capital Sofia, Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said “consumption of natural gas in Bulgaria is guaranteed for at least a month ahead and at present there is no reason to limit consumption.”
Nikolov said a warning from Russia’s Gazprom was received on Tuesday, saying supplies would be cut off. He said under the current contract that Bulgaria’s gas operator Bulgargaz has fulfilled all its obligations and that Gazprom is not fulfilling its contractual obligations.
“It is obvious that in the current war situation in Ukraine, natural gas is being used by Russia as a political and economic weapon,” Nikolov said, adding that Bulgaria will not conduct negotiations under pressure.
Bulgaria’s natural gas companies have ensured the continuity of “alternative supplies,” the ministry said.
“Our country is a loyal partner in existing contracts and we will not endanger supplies to our neighbors,” Nikolov said.
CNN’s Radina Gigova contributed reporting to this post.