Greek PM says Russian gas cannot be replaced ‘overnight’

European countries understand the need to reduce dependence on Russian gas, but realize that this will not happen immediately, the Greek prime minister said. Sanctions should not hurt the EU more than Russia, he pointed out alt=”Greek prime minister says Russian gas cannot be replaced 'overnight'” />

Kyriakos Mitsotakis

EU sanctions against Russia are important and already bearing fruit, but should be treated with caution, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Real News.

Europe must make sure that the restrictions that are being adopted do not cause more damage to the EU countries than to Russia, “since the European economy cannot completely replace Russian gas with gas from other suppliers,” Mitsotakis said (quoted from Reporter.gr).

“Everyone in Europe understands that we need to get rid of Russian gas as soon as possible. But it is also clear that this will not happen overnight,— he continued. Therefore, Greece has prepared short-term and long-term plans to ensure the country's energy sufficiency.

At the end of March, according to Bloomberg, Greece began to look for options to replace Russian gas in the event of a cut in supplies. In January, Mitsotakis said the country had reduced its dependence on fuel from Russia from around 40% to 33%.

On March 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on payments in rubles for natural gas supplies to countries that the Russian authorities consider unfriendly (the list includes all EU countries, Great Britain, the USA, Canada and others). According to the document, countries that buy gas from Russia must open accounts with Gazprombank. They pay in euros through a bank, which will then convert the currency into rubles. The scheme began to operate on April 1.

Poland and Bulgaria refused to pay for gas in rubles, which is why Gazprom suspended deliveries to these countries. Greece then announced that it would help Bulgaria: Athens said that Sofia had bought a share of supplies through the LNG terminal in the country, Kathimerini wrote.

Greece's next payment to Gazprom under a contract valid until 2026, should be produced in May. Athens did not specify exactly how the payment would be made, but noted that Greece could “avoid problems for a while, even if Russia stops deliveries,” the newspaper reported.

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