WARSAW — Russia’s state gas company has announced the “complete suspension” of natural gas deliveries to Poland through a major pipeline, its Polish counterpart said on Tuesday, in an escalation of the economic conflict stemming from the war in Ukraine.
Poland gets more than 45 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and cutting off that supply could seriously wound Poland’s ability to heat homes and run businesses. Unlike some of its neighbors, Poland burns coal, not gas, for most of its electricity, so it is less vulnerable on that front.
Bulgaria’s state gas company said it had also received notice Tuesday that its Russian supplies, which pass through a different pipeline, would be cut off, but the impact of that is unclear. Bulgarian lawmakers said Monday that they planned to replace Russian supplies entirely through a pipeline from Greece, beginning this summer.
Since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, the United States and its allies have imposed increasingly stringent economic sanctions on Russia, badly damaging the Russian economy. For the European Union, the toughest part of that campaign has been trying to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels, Moscow’s main source of foreign revenue.
The bloc has vowed to cut off its large imports of Russian oil and coal, though over a period of months as it searches for replacements and adjusts to higher fuel costs. But Europe is even more dependent on Russian gas, and ending those imports would be more economically damaging; E.U. ministers have said they will reduce the flow from Russia, but not shut it off until 2030.
PGNiG, the state-owned company that is Poland’s main purchaser of Russian gas, said that it had received a letter from Russia’s state-controlled energy behemoth, Gazprom, informing it that all deliveries through the Yamal pipeline would be halted. It did not specify when this would happen.
Yamal stretches from northern Siberia to Poland and Germany. Most of the flow from Russia to Poland passes through it. It is not clear the move would affect supplies to Germany, by far the biggest importer of Russian gas, as there are other major pipelines connecting the two countries, including Nord Stream 1.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has demanded that energy sales be paid for in rubles to prop up his faltering currency, though the contracts for foreign sales generally require payment in dollars. Poland and other countries have refused to pay in rubles.
Russia has been particularly angry at Poland because of Warsaw’s robust support for Ukraine, which has received many of its NATO-supplied arms through Polish territory.