Russia’s suspension of gas supplies would backfire, say…

Russia's suspension of gas supplies would backfire, say...

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland is likely to backfire as it shows that dependence on Russia makes countries vulnerable to coercion, something they strive to avoid, officials said.

Russia has cut gas flows to the two countries for refusing their demand to pay in rubles, targeting European economies in the toughest retaliation yet for international sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

“This action is likely to be counterproductive to explaining to everyone why reliance on Russia makes them vulnerable to coercion of this kind,” one of the officials told reporters on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said Europe was working to make sure it was no longer in this situation of dependency and that “this would be at Russia’s long-term expense, both strategically and economically”.

Moscow says the gas cuts are aimed at implementing the ruble payment clause necessary to protect its economy from sanctions.

The officials also said Russia was threatening illegal action when Moscow warned of an immediate “proportionate response” if, in their view, the UK continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets in Russia.

“It is a conflict between Russia and Ukraine triggered by Russia’s illegal aggression. We have the right to provide military support to any country that exercises its right to self-defense, and this is legal. The Russian statement threatening retaliatory attacks is illegal.” official said.

(Reporting by Kylie McClellan)



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