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Poland and Bulgaria say they won't bow down to Russia after Gazprom shuts off their gas supply

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A compressor gas station of the Yamal–Europe gas pipeline in Wloclawek, Poland.
A compressor gas station of the Yamal–Europe gas pipeline in Wloclawek, Poland.
Omar Marques/Getty Images
  • Russia's energy giant Gazprom has halted gas exports to both Poland and Bulgaria.
  • But both countries said Wednesday they will manage without Russian gas.
  • Putin said last month that countries would be cut off from Russian gas if they don't pay in rubles.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Poland and Bulgaria said Wednesday they won't bow down to Russia after its state-owned energy supplier Gazprom announced it will shut off their gas supply.

In a statement seen by Reuters, the Russian energy giant said that its services will not be restored in the countries until they pay for gas in rubles — Russia's currency, which has suffered since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Poland confirmed to the BBC that its gas supply had already been cut.

Bulgaria's gas network operator Bulgartransgaz told local news provider Novinite that supplies were still flowing as of Wednesday morning, but said this could change throughout the day.

Both countries said they can cope without Gazprom's gas in the short term, and that they are seeking out alternative options.

"We have provided alternative quantities for a sufficiently foreseeable period," Bulgaria's energy minister Alexander Nikolov said on Wednesday, according to Novinite.

"As long as I am a minister and responsible for this, Bulgaria will not negotiate under pressure and with its head bowed," he added. "Bulgaria does not give in and is not sold at any price at any trade counterparty." 

Bulgaria relies on Gazprom for more than 90% of its gas supply, according to the BBC. Nikolov reassured the public that no restrictions on consumption were currently required, as per Novinite. 

The Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przdacz told the BBC the country had "taken some decisions many years ago to prepare for such a situation."

Przdacz also told the BBC that there are "options to get the gas from other partners," including the US and the Middle East.

The Polish state gas company PGNiG bought 53% of its gas imports from Gazprom in the first quarter of this year, the BBC reported.

Gazprom's energy cut comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last month that he would stop sending gas to Europe if "unfriendly countries" don't pay in rubles. 

The list of "unfriendly countries" — which received the designation from Russia in response to widespread condemnation of its invasion of Ukraine in February — includes the US, UK, and countries in the EU. 

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