World Moldova turns to Poland for gas amid tensions with Russia
Two 'illiberal' democracies are taking on E.U. law. Will it end with their exit?
A battle is raging at the heart of the European Union over accusations that its two most right-wing governments are subverting democratic principles and offering inspiration to populist parties across Europe. © Provided by NBC News The E.U. accuses Poland of undermining the entire 27-nation union by asserting that its domestic laws take precedence over shared European law. Poland is the first member state to do so, and E.U. leaders say the move threatens the very foundations of the bloc.
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Moldova has turned to a non-Russian natural gas supplier for the first time as the former Soviet republic seeks to avert a looming gas shortage this winter after failing to renew a long-term supply contract with Moscow.
On Tuesday, Moldova received a million cubic meters of gas from Poland in a move aimed at diversifying its energy supply following years of strong Russian influence over the small European nation of 3.5 million people.
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Read CNN's 2016 Presidential Election Investigation Fast Facts for information about probes into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential race.Here's a look at investigations into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu posted online Wednesday that the European Commission has pledged 60 million euros ($70 million) to help the country with its gas crisis, and she thanked Commission President Ursula von de Leyen for her support.
Russia had supplied all of Moldova's natural gas until September, when efforts to clinch a renewed deal with Russia's state-owned gas company Gazprom fell through.
Poland plans 'radical' strengthening of its military
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's ruling party leader presented plans Tuesday for a bill to “defend the fatherland,” legislation he said is aimed at “radically” strengthening the military as the country faces migration pressure from its eastern neighbor Belarus. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who holds the position of deputy prime minister but is undisputedly the most powerful politician in Poland, said the bill is needed due to a deteriorating international situation and also to Poland's geopolitical location.
Gazprom over the weekend said that Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, would need to settle its outstanding debts of as much as $709 million (610 million euros) in order to extend its contract. The Russian company also warned that it would cut Moldova's gas supply on Dec. 1 if payment wasn’t received.
Gazprom had extended the contract for a month at the higher price of $790 per cubic meter while Moldova’s energy trading company Energocom sought an alternative gas supplier. Moldovan officials continue to negotiate with the Russian gas giant.
Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said Sunday that Gazprom’s “financial and non-financial conditions” are not in the interests of Moldovan citizens.
Threats from Russia, Belarus Prompt Poland to Increase Defense Spending With New Bill
"If we want to avoid the worst, that is war, we have to act according to the old rule: 'If you want peace, prepare for war,'" Jaroslaw Kaczynski said.Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the deputy prime minister considered to be the most powerful politician in the country, said that the proposed spending increase will help "defend the fatherland" and strengthen the military while Poland's borders are met with an incursion of migrants from Belarus.
The deal with Polish supplier PGNiG came a week after Moldova’s parliament declared a 30-day state of emergency when Gazprom slashed its gas supply by about a third and raised its prices amid a skyrocketing global gas price hike.
Moldova’s foreign ministry said Monday that it needs to keep the flow of gas “at an acceptable level" to “ensure the energy security of the country.”
Some observers see the gas dispute as a Russian bid to strengthen its influence over Moldova after a pro-European Union party earned a landslide win in the July 11 parliamentary election. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied any political tinge to the gas dispute.
“There are no political issues here and there can’t be any,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “There is a demand for gas, there is a commercial offer along with a discount offer and the problem of accumulated debt. All that is of purely commercial character and there is no politicization here.”
Europe's Energy Crisis Exposes Dependence on Vladimir Putin's Gas—For Now
President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is "ready" to supply Europe with more natural gas if needed.The crisis is being driven by high global demand for gas and oil, which has forced up prices as economies reopen after COVID-19 lockdowns. It has been exacerbated in Europe by a reduction in output from the wind power sector.
Peskov scoffed at the news of Moldova opting to other gas suppliers, noting that those shipments would be costlier than the Russian gas.
Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said the Russian gas giant “can’t work to make losses” and that “Moldova is provoking a crisis with its own hands.”
Dionis Cenusa, an analyst at the Chisinau-based think tank Expert Group, says Moldova has been working on diversifying its gas supply routes over the last few years, particularly with Romania.
“But the endeavor was frequently politicized or lacked financial resources,” he told The Associated Press. “Russia wants its influence untouched in Moldova and the current energy crisis seems to be used to balance the powers with the EU.”
Poland shows Hungary how to be a vital NATO ally
Poland has announced a new homeland defense bill that pinpoints Russia's imperial ambitions as a primary security challenge to NATO. © Provided by Washington Examiner Once approved by parliament, the legislation will more than double Poland’s troop numbers from 110,000 to 250,000 soldiers, together with 50,000 reservists. Given its history of foreign invasions, Poland takes security seriously. The United States should be grateful for that. In Europe, the most vital allies are those that directly recognize and resist aggression from a neo-imperial Russia.
Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
Crisis worsens on Poland-Belarus border as migrants congregate and troops are mobilized .
Tensions are escalating on the border between Poland and Belarus, after Polish officials again accused their neighbor of helping move migrants toward the frontier, and warned that thousands of additional military personnel have been mobilized to respond to confrontations. © Leonid Shcheglov/Belta/AFP/Getty Images A picture taken on November 8, 2021 shows Poland's law enforcement officers watching migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border. - Poland on November 8 said hundreds of migrants in Belarus were descending on its border aiming to force their way into the EU member in what NATO slammed as a deliberate tactic by Minsk.