Greece upsets Putin plans by providing gas to Bulgaria, Moldova

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Greece has upset Vladimir Putin’s plans to punish Europe on its energy needs, after shutting gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria by coming to the rescue with offers to supply the gas itself through two new liquefied gas LNG terminals in Alexandroupoli.

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu and energy expert Ion Muntean welcomed the news.

“It is good that Greece found this solution. Liquefied gas is the main alternative to natural gas traditionally supplied by land pipelines. Moreover, this port in Greece is closer to Romania and Moldova, which would be an advantage for Chisinau.

We have a dialogue on energy that aims to strengthen our country’s independence and energy efficiency … Moldova needs investment to alleviate the energy crisis.”

The formal announcement was made at an event on Tuesday by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the presence of European Council President Charles Michel, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov and North Macedonia’s Dimitar Kovacevski.

The new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal station in the city of Alexandroupolis “is a milestone in Europe’s energy development,” noted European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday.

Speaking at the inauguration of the northeastern Greek city’s new natural gas Floating Storage & Regasification Unit (FSRU), the European official added that this project “is very positive for our joint political projects, as it will help us to diversify our natural gas sources, to strengthen our energy infrastructure, and we will therefore reduce our dependence on Russian gas, making us stronger, more independent.”

Michel, who spoke alongside the attending state leaders of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and North Macedonia, underlined that this “geopolitical initiative reflects what we need to do from now on, as it will supply natural gas to Greece, Bulgaria and North Macedonia.”

Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov noted that Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and “the pressure exerted by Russia on Bulgaria by cutting off its natural gas supply can only be dealt with in common, as we are independent countries and we pursue policies that are in line with International Law.”

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said he is “grateful that we will be able to secure significant quantities of natural gas, and for that to happen projects like the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector (IGB) will have to be strengthened, and when these projects are completed we will then be able to receive large quantities.” He also spoke of the role in EU funding for such projects, for which he said he was grateful to the bloc.

The Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovacevski pointed out that phasing out of lignite dependence for electricity production and its replacement by natural gas “is a strategic goal.” He added that “North Macedonia’s interconnection with the energy infrastructures of central and southeastern European countries is very important,” and underlined that “this project’s realization can lead us to other energy projects, and to the improvement of regional competitiveness.”