European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that Poland and Bulgaria receive gas from their EU neighbors.
This comes next Russia’s giant Gazprom has suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, on Wednesday, after the 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 Kremlin provocation” and accused Moscow of using gas to “blackmail” the bloc.
“This is something the European Commission is preparing 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. First, we will ensure that Gazprom’s decision has the least possible impact on European consumers. Today, the member states of the Gas Coordination Group met. Poland and Bulgaria have informed us of the situation. Both Poland and Bulgaria now receive gas from their EU neighbors.”
The official also stressed the need for reliable energy partners, and promised to end the era of Russian fossil fuels in Europe.
Furthermore, in its statement, it committed to ensuring a “medium-term” plan for adequate gas supply and storage, and is also looking to invest in a “green transition.”
“In the long term, REPowerEU will also help us transition to a more reliable, safe and sustainable energy source. We will present our plans to accelerate the green transition in mid-May. Every euro we invest in renewables and energy efficiency is a down payment for our future energy independence.”
The Bulgarian Energy Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Bulgaria is “in constant contact” with the European Commission as a “discussion of common supplies at the EU level” is taking place.
“The consumption of natural gas in Bulgaria is guaranteed for at least a month, and at the moment there is no need to limit consumption,” Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said at a press briefing in the capital, Sofia.
Nikolov said a warning was received from Russia’s Gazprom on Tuesday that supplies would be cut off. He said that under the current contract, the Bulgarian company Bulgar Gas has fulfilled all its obligations and that Gazprom is not fulfilling the contractual obligations on the part of the supplier.
“It is clear that in the current situation of the war in Ukraine, Russia is using natural gas as a political and economic weapon,” Nikolov said, adding that Bulgaria would not hold talks under pressure.
The ministry said that natural gas operators in Bulgaria had ensured the continuation of “alternative supplies”.
“Our country is a faithful partner in the current contracts and we will not jeopardize supplies to our neighbors,” Nikolov said.
CNN’s Radina Gigova contributed reporting for this post.