STORY: Russian energy giant Gazprom stopped supplying gas to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday,
in a major escalation of Moscow's broader tension with the West over its invasion of Ukraine.
Poland and Bulgaria are the first to have their gas cut off by Europe's main supplier since Russia launched its invasion.
But Poland's Prime Minister said on Tuesday that the country's energy supplies are secure..
“Our gas storages are 76 percent full. This is a high level of filling – much higher than in most European countries. Therefore, also in this transitional period, before the Baltic gas pipeline is launched, we will be able to draw on our resources, as well as obtain gas from all possible other directions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that countries he terms "unfriendly" pay for gas in roubles, and has threatened to cut gas supplies if the demands are not fully met.
Bulgaria, which is almost completely reliant on Russian gas imports, said the proposed new payment scheme was a breach of contract.
While Poland, whose gas deal with Russia expires at the end of this year, has repeatedly said it would not comply with the new scheme of gas payments.
It has also said it would not extend the contract.
Polish Climate Minister, Anna Moskwa:
"We are prepared to be completely cut off from Russian resources. Both with regard to coal – the cut was made on our initiative, we introduced an embargo on April 16. We are ready to cut off the gas completely. We are also ready to cut off Russian oil completely.”
The move to cut off supplies followed sanctions imposed by Warsaw against Russian individuals and companies following what Moscow calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine to disarm the country and protect it from fascists.
Ukraine and the West say this is a false pretext for an unprovoked war to seize territory.
The campaign has killed thousands, displaced millions, and reduced towns and cities to rubble.