Russia cuts off gas supplies to Latvia

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The service has been suspended in recent weeks to Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, citing various pretexts, especially the refusal to pay in rubles.

Since this Saturday, July 30, the Russian energy giant Gazprom has stopped gas supplies to Latvia. According to the company through a statement, the cessation of the fluid is due to the “violation of the conditions on the selection of the gas”, although it does not specify to which breaches it refers in particular.

The Latvian company that operates gas transport, Conexus Baltic Grid, has confirmed the supply cut. Yesterday, the Latvian company Latvijas Gaze acknowledged that it was buying Russian gas, not directly from Gazprom, but through an intermediary that it pays in euros, not in rubles as Moscow is demanding from other European customers in response to the policy of sanctions.

During 2021, approximately 90% of the gas purchased by Latvia came from Russia. Last June, the Latvian Prime Minister, Arturs Krisjanis Karins, announced that his country would not continue importing Russian gas and indicated that the fluid would be definitively interrupted as of January 1, 2023.

In early April, Conexus Baltic Grid announced that Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were stopping buying Russian gas through Gazprom directly due to the war in Ukraine and loss of confidence in Moscow. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called on the rest of the EU to follow the example of the Baltic countries.

Russia has cut off gas in recent weeks to Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, citing various pretexts, most notably the refusal to pay in rubles. Germany, which continues to receive Russian gas although with a gradual decrease in volumes, believes that President Vladimir Putin is using this policy against the EU to press for a lifting of the sanctions decreed as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

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Since last Wednesday, Gazprom decided to again limit gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream-1 pipeline to 33 million cubic meters per day, which represents a reduction of 20%. The reason given was once again the need to undertake the maintenance of another pumping turbine. “The productive capacity of the Portóvaya compression station will increase to 33 million cubic meters on July 27”, announced the Russian energy company, specifying that it represents “around 20% of the pipeline’s capacity”, compared to 40% that had until then. Also supposedly depleted by the absence of the turbine sent to Canada for repair.

In June, Russia already cut gas deliveries twice on the pretext that the pipeline could not function normally without the turbine being repaired in Canada, stressing that it has not yet been returned due to sanctions. The German group Siemens Energy, responsible for the maintenance of the turbine, stated then that there was “no relationship between the turbine and the gas reductions”.

But, yesterday Friday, Gazprom warned that “Moscow can only accept the repaired turbine if it receives guarantees from the EU and Great Britain that Western sanctions will not be applied,” according to the company’s deputy director, Vitali Markelov, which puts I state that the question of the turbines is nothing more than an excuse to squeeze Europe energetically and that the real objective of the Kremlin is to achieve the lifting of sanctions.

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