Russia cuts gas supplies to Dutch state trader raising stakes in sanctions war

Russia has further cut off gas supplies to Europe, after state energy giant Gazprom turned off the taps to a top Dutch trader, amid an intensification of the economic battle over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

It follows the EU’s overnight decision to place an embargo on most Russian oil imports as part of its financial sanctions against the Kremlin.

EU leaders said the ban would immediately impact 75% of Russian oil imports, rising to 90% of this trade by the end of the year.

Gazprom extended its gas cuts on Tuesday by stopping supply to the Dutch trader GasTerra, which buys and trades gas on behalf of the Dutch government.

The company said it had found contracts elsewhere for the supply of the 2bn cubic metres of gas it had been expecting to receive from Gazprom between now and October.

Ahead of the late night talks in Brussels, Denmark had signalled it expected its Russian gas supply to end. However, the Danish firm Ørsted said on Monday that a gas cut would not immediately put Denmark’s gas supplies at risk.

Moscow has already halted supplies of natural gas to Bulgaria, Poland and Finland, after they refused to pay in Russian roubles.

The Kremlin had demanded payments for exports in roubles earlier in the spring, after the country’s currency fell off a cliff after the invasion of Ukraine and Russia was excluded from the SWIFT international bank messaging system in earlier rounds of sanctions.

The EU’s energy commissioner had previously said that member states would have to reject Moscow’s demands, as the mechanism set out by Russia would have breached the bloc’s sanctions, even if this left them without alternative gas supply.