PM warns Russian gas taps may be closed

More LNG supplies expected.

PM Eduard HegerPM Eduard Heger (Source: TASR)

Slovakia must be prepared for Russia to suddenly cut off gas supplies to the country and plans should be drawn up to deal with such a scenario, Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said after a meeting of the Security Council on March 30.

The PM cited the example of Germany which has recently issued an urgent warning of a similar scenario there for two reasons – war in Ukraine and Russian demands that European customers pay for gas in roubles.

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“If we apply it to Slovak conditions, the gas utility company Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) would have to first purchase roubles with euros and then purchase gas from Russia's Gazprom for roubles,” he said, as quoted by TASR. “This would however increase Slovakia’s dependence on Russia, as it would then not be just energy [dependence], but also financial.”

Heger made the statement just before news broke that Russian president Vladimir Putin had signed a decree saying foreign buyers must pay in roubles for Russian gas from April 1, and contracts would be halted if these payments were not made.

Heger pointed out that Russia had already stopped gas flows to Europe in 2009, and noted that Slovakia’s doubts about the reliability of Russian supplies of gas are even greater following the invasion of Ukraine.

“We are, therefore, together will all member countries of the EU, looking for an alternative solution so we can protect our households and industry,” he said, adding that while Russia fights with bombs in Ukraine, it is using gas to fight the rest of Europe.

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