Prime Minister Krill Petkov has backed Russia’s refusal to pay for gas in rubles

Krill Petkov, 42, has been leading the Bulgarian government since December 2021. A staunch pro-European centrist, he is an alliance partner and should openly deal with the pro-Moscow president, while Russia announced on Tuesday, April 26 that it would suspend all of it. Gas supply in retaliation for the Bulgarian refusal to pay in Gosprom rubles.

Did Russia really cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria?

Yes, the gas has been shut off since 9am on Wednesday 27th April. We were notified the day before.

How long can you last?

In unchanged circumstances, we have a direct reserve to keep for more than a month. But we hope to complete the construction of the new interconnector with Greece by the end of June. We also believe in the European Commission’s general liquefied gas procurement strategy.

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We need to act together and act quickly. Because we will not give up. No one has the right to unilaterally change the terms of the contract. If we give, it will be the first crack in the European family, and Bulgaria will not be the cause of this crack.

What kind of help do you expect from the EU?

Very firmly, we look forward to assisting in obtaining Azerbaijan gas as soon as possible. We also believe in joint purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG). We expect a unanimous response from all European countries. We are strong in unity, not in divisions.

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Germany is against a collective gas purchase policy, are you asking Berlin to change its position?

We urge Berlin to stay strong behind us, saying that paying in rubles is unacceptable and that no one has the right to unilaterally change the contract.

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In your opinion, why was Bulgaria (along with Poland) specifically targeted by Gaspro?

I think because of the payment schedule. We had to pay first, and refused to do so in rubles. I think other European countries will follow suit. We have an incredibly aggressive Russian ambassador in Sofia. She is unworthy of being a diplomat, and her aggressive internal relations may have contributed.

Do you think Russia is trying to overthrow your government?

I hope the Russian authorities do not like our government, and they want to hear the pro-Russian positions in Sofia. They themselves said that they would be happy if others other than us occupied our positions.

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