The European Union warned member states Monday to prepare for a possible complete breakdown in gas supplies from Russia, insisting it would not cede to Moscow's demand that imports be paid for in rubles, APA reports citing NDTV.
The European Commission will on Tuesday propose to member states a new package of sanctions to punish President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine, including an embargo on Russian oil, officials said.
But energy and environment ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday addressed the larger and potentially more complicated issue of Russia's natural gas, upon which several countries -- including EU top economy Germany -- depend for much of their power generation.
Moscow has demanded clients from "unfriendly countries" -- including EU member states -- pay for gas in rubles, a way to sidestep Western financial sanctions against its central bank. It has cut off Bulgaria and Poland after their firms refused to comply.
After the talks, the French chair of the meeting, ecological transition minister Barbara Pompili, and the European commissioner for energy, Kadri Simson, said the 27 member states were united with Poland and Bulgaria and would stockpile gas to be prepare for a breakdown.
Simson said that "following the full procedure as set out by Russia constitutes a breach of sanctions" imposed by the European Union.
She said that, to her knowledge, no European company was preparing to follow Putin's decree and change its payment methods.