The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has now been two months old and what many anticipated would be a confrontation that would last only a few days has turned into a complex event with implications for the entire world. In recent days, news has emerged confirming that the tension is increasing and that little by little the conflict goes beyond the borders of Ukraine. Today the Russian gas distribution company Gazprom announced that it will stop supplying gas to Poland and Bulgaria as of this Wednesday, April 27.
Last Friday, the president, Vladimir Putin , signed a decree by means of which it was established that the enemy countries of Russia that consume gas must pay for it in rubles, opening bank accounts in the country’s institutions. The measure aims to counteract the economic sanctions and the exchange of goods imposed by the West since the conflict began.
Unlike Canada and the United States, the countries of the European Union depend on Russia for the gas they consume. It is estimated that between 30 and 40% of the gas used in Europe is Russian and it is not easy to get another supplier country from one day to the next. Gas sales represent an important daily revenue of €400 million for Russia, which would also not be easy to replace if they disappeared from one day to the next.
What is a fact is that the news escalates again the tension between Russia and Western countries. European countries have refused the measure arguing that it implies a violation of contracts that are in dollars and euros. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has accused Putin of blackmail and has said that Germany will continue to pay for its gas in euros, as stipulated in the contract.
Faced with Putin’s measure and threat, European countries are beginning to draw up emergency plans to deal with a possible gas shortage. Austria and Germany have already asked the population and companies to drastically reduce their consumption.
Bulgaria, whose gas comes 90% from Russia, has started a tender for underground drilling that will allow them to face the crisis. Poland declared that it has anticipated the situation and that its gas reserves are at 76% of its capacity.
Although gas prices have not skyrocketed so far, the tension is increasing and if indeed Poland and Bulgaria stop receiving the resource tomorrow, that could change.