Hundreds in the Bulgarian capital are protesting against the Russian energy giant Gazprom – National

Hundreds of Bulgarians took to the streets of the capital Sofia on Wednesday, voicing fears that the country’s interim government could break with the policies of its pro-Western predecessor and return to close energy ties with Russia.

The second of a planned series of protests themed #GAZwithme took place outside the presidential building in Sofia, and organizers said they are calling for greater accountability from the caretaker’s cabinet.

Many in EU and NATO member Bulgaria fear that the previous, pro-Western government in June over its tough stance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its refusal to pay Russian energy giant Gazprom in rubles, Russia’s currency, was overthrown.

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Poland, Bulgaria say Russia halts gas supplies amid Ukraine war

In late April, Russia halted gas supplies to Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest country, after rejecting Moscow’s demand that it pay in rubles. Relations between the two former Eastern Bloc allies deteriorated under the previous government.

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The first public statements from the current caretaker government, appointed by President Rumen Radev, suggest that Bulgaria could resume talks with Gazprom to avoid gas shortages later in the year.

“We refuse to be dependent on Gazprom and fund Putin’s outrageous war!” Read one of the banners at the protest.

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Atanas Sharkov, one of the organizers of the protest, called on Radev, who bears direct responsibility for the interim government’s actions, to guarantee that previous decisions will not be reversed.

He insisted that Gazprom must stop being Bulgaria’s sole gas supplier. “It’s high time to follow European politics and be part of Europe,” Sharkov said.

Last month, leaders of Greece and Bulgaria marked the completion of a new pipeline that will bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria. They said commercial deliveries are expected to start on October 1st.

© 2022 The Canadian Press Hundreds in the Bulgarian capital are protesting against the Russian energy giant Gazprom – National


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