Russia's Gazprom cuts gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria
Tensions heightened in Europe again on Wednesday, when Russia's Gazprom PJSC, the country's largest natural gas corporation, announced it had stopped the flow of gas to the countries of Poland and Bulgaria.
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: Poland and Bulgaria are both members of the European Union and rely heavily on Russian energy supply. The move is designed to combat the two countries' close ties with the EU amidst Russia's war in Ukraine, which is being fought primarily over EU membership.
Russia said it plans to keep the supplies turned off until the two countries agree to Moscow’s demand to pay for the fuel in rubles, Russia's home currency. Members of the EU have called the move "blackmail".
This isn't the first time energy has been weaponized in war. It's always a driver of war strategy and tactics, as countries are dependent on oil and fuel to move their armies.
Gazprom, headquartered in Saint Petersburg, supplies gas to a number of other European countries. Germany, for example, made its payment in rubles earlier this month, drawing criticism. Other countries such as Italy and Great Britain also use the Russian provider.
Editor's note: We've linked to Gazprom's UK website, due to the Russian site being inaccessible as of today's press time.