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Baltic states stop Russian gas imports

RIGA (AFP) – The head of Latvia’s natural gas storage operator said on Saturday the Baltic states were no longer importing Russian natural gas.

“If there were still any doubts about whether there may be any trust in deliveries from Russia, current events clearly show us that there is no more trust,” said Chief Executive Officer of Conexus Baltic Grid Uldis Bariss.

“Since April 1, Russian natural gas is no longer flowing to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania,” he told Latvian radio.

He added that the Baltic market was currently being served by gas reserves stored underground in Latvia.

The move comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to leverage Russia’s status as an energy power.

The Pipeline Inspection Gauge receiving station, the Nord Stream 2 part of the landfall area in Lubmin on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast. PHOTO: AFP

With his economy crippled by unprecedented international sanctions, Putin warned European Union (EU) members that they would need to set up ruble accounts to pay for Russian gas.

He said last Thursday that existing contracts would be halted if the payments were not made.

While the United States banned the import of Russian oil and gas, the EU – which received around 40 per cent of its gas supplies from Russia in 2021 – has retained deliveries from Moscow.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called on the rest of the EU to follow the Baltic example.

“From this month on – no more Russian gas in Lithuania,” he said on Twitter. “Years ago, my country made decisions that today allow us with no pain to break energy ties with the agressor,” he added.

“If we can do it, the rest of Europe can do it too!”