Commentary: What occurs now that Russia adopted by way of on threats to chop off fuel provides?

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READING, England: Russian power large Gazprom has completely cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. Each international locations are apparently being punished for refusing Russia’s demand that they pay for his or her fuel in roubles.

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Other European Union countries have also refused to pay in Russian foreign money (doing so would offer a lift to the Russian financial system), however to date solely Bulgaria and Poland have had their provide minimize.

The speedy response from Poland has been that it may “handle” with out Russian fuel, with storage ranges excessive and demand lowering because the climate will get hotter. Bulgaria, in the meantime, has accused Gazprom of a severe breach of contract and is in talks with EU allies about sustaining provides.

It is not going to be straightforward. For whereas Bulgaria can steadily change away from Russian fuel and oil, an abrupt halt will trigger severe worries. Various provides from the likes of Azerbaijan is not going to be sufficient.

In the long run, one possibility is to proceed with the (at present deserted) completion of Bulgaria’s second nuclear energy plant close to the city of Belene on the south financial institution of the Danube river.

Together with Poland, Germany and the remainder of the EU, Bulgaria will even look to extend its reliance on Norway, the Center East and North Africa. And there will likely be calls throughout the EU to hurry up a change to renewable power sources akin to photo voltaic and wind energy.

All of those strikes will do severe hurt to Russia’s financial system. So why is it turning off the faucets? And why is it focusing on these two international locations specifically?

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