Russian state pipeline operator Transneft said it has halted shipments through the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline, which flows through Ukraine to the Czech Republic. Slovakia and Hungary.
Transneft cited complications due to European Union sanctions for its action on August 4, saying its payment to the company’s Ukrainian counterpart was refused.
The northern section of the Druzhba pipeline, which runs through Belarus to Poland and Germany, was not affected, Transneft reported.
EU leaders agreed in May to embargo most Russian oil imports by the end of the year as part of the bloc’s sanctions over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
The embargo covers Russian oil brought by sea, but allowed temporary shipments from the Druzhba pipeline to Hungary and other landlocked countries in central Europe.
Slovakia’s pipeline network operator Transpetrol and refining company Slovnaft confirmed that shipments of Druzhba to the nation had stopped. Slovakia receives almost all of its oil through the Druzhba pipeline.
Slovnaft, owned by Hungarian energy group MOL, said its output has not been affected.
Slovnaft spokesman Anton Molnar said the company and MOL were discussing with Russia and Ukraine an option for MOL, or Slovnaft, to pay the transit fees.
“The next few days will show whether this is another escalation of the energy war by Russia or a technical problem over payments,” Czech Minister of Industry and Trade. jozef sikela said.
Slovakia’s Economy Minister Richard Sulik said earlier that his country has enough oil in its reserves to last about 120 days.
Russia has also cut natural gas shipments to Europe after most countries refused to comply with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wartime order requiring payment in rubles rather than dollars or euros.
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