Russian energy group Gazprom cuts off gas to Latvia | Region

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s state-owned natural gas company said Saturday it halted shipments to Latvia due to contract violations.

In a brief statement, gas giant Gazprom said the shipments were halted because Latvia breached “gas extraction conditions”. He did not specify.

The statement likely referred to a refusal to meet Russia’s demand for gas payments in rubles rather than other currencies. Gazprom had previously suspended shipments to other European Union countriesincluding the Netherlands, Poland and Bulgaria, because they would not pay in rubles.

The immediate effects of the cut were unclear. Latvian media reported this week that the country has resumed buying Russian gas from another supplier.

After the EU imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that “unfriendly foreign buyers” should do transactions with Gazprom in rubles instead of dollars and euros.

The Kremlin said importers should open a dollar or euro account with Russia’s third-largest bank, Gazprombank, and then a second ruble account. The importer would pay the gas bill in euros or dollars and ask the bank to exchange the money for rubles.

Many countries have refused to comply, saying the new payment system could put them in the position of breaching the terms of the sanctions.


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Luisa D. Fuller