Espreso. Global

Bulgaria accuses Hungary, Serbia of feeding Putin's "war machine"

28 October, 2023 Saturday
12:20

The Bulgarian leader accused Hungary and Serbia of not looking for alternative sources of energy supplies, instead financing Russia's war in Ukraine

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This is reported by Bloomberg.

The leader of Bulgaria on Friday, October 27, during the European Union summit in Brussels accused Hungary and Serbia of contributing to the Kremlin's "war machine" by not looking for alternative sources of energy supplies amid an escalating dispute over a tax on gas imports.

Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said that his government has no plans to abandon the tax on Russian gas transiting Bulgaria and that its goal is to deprive the state-controlled exporter Gazprom of profits used to finance the war against Ukraine.

Hungary described the move announced this month as a “hostile act” and Serbia said the tax threatened to cut off vital fuel supplies to the region.

"There was enough time to look for alternatives, to see that these profits are feeding Putin's war machine. Actually, this should have happened earlier," Denkov said.

The standoff demonstrates how Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion has changed energy supplies in a region where disruptions have caused the worst cost-of-living crisis for consumers in decades. Gazprom's Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which runs under the Black Sea to Turkey and crosses Bulgaria, provides key fuel supplies to several smaller Western Balkan countries as well.

Denkov, who insisted that the regulation was in line with EU rules, said he was open to talks with both Budapest and Belgrade. At the same time, he accused the governments of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic of stoking unfounded fears of price increases instead of engaging in negotiations.

Bulgaria was one of the first EU member states to be cut off from Russian supplies after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, leading to the acceleration of long-term projects to secure imports from Azerbaijan and regional liquefied natural gas terminals in Greece and Turkey.

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