Belarus-Poland: Migrants detained attempting border crossing
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Russian energy giant Gazprom’s spokesman Sergei Kupryanov told the small country between the EU states of Romania and Ukraine, that it will cut off gas if it does not pay for deliveries under a contract agreed last month. Moldova and Gazprom extended a deal to supply gas to the ex-Soviet country at the end of last month. It came after a bitter stand-off that saw Chisinau declare a state of emergency over gas shortages and sign a gas contract with a country other than Russia for the first time.
Although not in the EU, Moldova is wedged within the Bulkan states that have raised concerns over the Kremlin’s provocative actions.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted: “Europe is facing new threats.
“Migration crisis, cyberattacks and gas price manipulation are just examples of hybrid war launched at Minsk and Moscow.
“We are witnessing an attempt to switch the current security order.
“Russia military concentration on the Ukrainian border and blackmailing Moldova with gas is a red alert for the EU.
“There is still time to avoid catastrophe.”
Mr Morawiecki is now on a tour of European states in the hope of finding an appropriate collective response.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already come under fire for reportedly toying with gas supplies in Europe and using the resource as a “geopolitical weapon”.
The bloc relies on around 40 percent of its gas imports from Moscow.
The squeeze on supplies is said to have come in the hope that his new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, would avoid falling under strict EU rules.
The reported restrictions on gas flowing into the bloc sent prices soaring on several occasions and saw the EU hold several emergency talks on a looming energy crisis.
But Germany’s energy regulator suspended the process for getting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline up and running last week.
It is now likely to not be commissioned until March next year, in a move that is said to have further angered the Kremlin.
Natural gas prices were sent soaring to over €100 (£84) per megawatt-hour last Wednesday.
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This is dangerously close to the October record of €116 (£97) per MWh.
Meanwhile, similar threats have been sent to the EU by Russia’s ally Belarus.
Leader Alexander Lukashenko threatened to cut off gas supplies if sanctions were imposed over an escalating migrant crisis at the country’s western border.
It came as thousands of people, mostly from Iraq, Syria and Yemen, are at the border with Poland, enduring freezing conditions in the hope of crossing into the EU.
Mr Lukashenko warned: “If they impose additional sanctions on us… we must respond”.
“We are heating Europe, and they are threatening us,” he said, referring to a Russian gas pipeline that runs through Belarus and into the EU.
“And what if we halt natural gas supplies? Therefore, I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking.”
Mr Morawiecki accused Belarus on Sunday of seeking to destabilise the EU by orchestrating the migrant crisis unfolding at his country’s border.
He added: “Today, on Poland’s eastern border, we are dealing with a new type of war, a war in which migrants are weapons, in which disinformation is a weapon.
“This is [the] greatest attempt to destabilise Europe in 30 years.
“Poland will not yield to blackmail and will do everything to defend the EU’s borders.”
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