Gas halt result of 'unfriendly steps' against Russia: Kremlin
The Kremlin slammed the European countries' sanctions as "unprecedented unfriendly steps."
The Kremlin stated on Wednesday that the suspension of natural gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria due to a reluctance to pay in rubles was the outcome of hostile acts toward Russia.
"The need for a new payment method as a result of unprecedented unfriendly steps in the economic sphere and the financial sector, which were taken against us by unfriendly countries," Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"This need was dictated by the fact that, as you know, they blocked from us -- or, to put it plainly, stole -- a fairly significant amount of our reserves," Peskov said, adding that this led to a "transition to a new payment system."
"So there is no question of blackmail here," Peskov said in response to comments by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who said this was "another attempt by Russia to blackmail us with gas."
Russia's energy giant Gazprom announced on Wednesday that it was cutting all gas shipments to Poland and the country's most reliant country, Bulgaria, "due to their failure to pay in rubles."
President Vladimir Putin announced last month that Russia will only take payment in its native currency for delivery, with buyers compelled to open ruble accounts or have their taps turned off.
In reaction to Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the country was struck with unprecedented economic penalties, including the freezing of $300 billion in foreign currency reserves held by Russia.