Moscow, Russia today cut natural gas off to NATO members Poland and Bulgaria and threatening to disconnect even more nations, the Associated Press (AP) news reported.
A day after the United States (US) and other Western allies vowed to speed more and better military supplies to Ukraine, the Kremlin upped the ante, using its most essential export as leverage. The tactic could eventually force targeted nations to ration gas and deal another blow to economies suffering from rising prices.
Benchmark gas prices in Europe shot up on the news that Poland and Bulgaria were cut off, marking another dark turn in a war that has revived the geopolitical rifts of the Cold War.
In a memo, state-controlled Russian giant Gazprom said it was shutting off the countries because they refused to pay in Russian rubles, as Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded. The company said it had not received any such payment since the beginning of the month.
Natural gas prices in Europe shot up 25% before the market opened Wednesday and then eased off but remained significantly higher.
Source: Oman News Agency