‘Russia pulls on the gas lever again,’ headlines Polska, describing the final stages of pending Polish-Russian talks on long-term gas supplies to Poland. According to the paper, the Russians ‘play on many pianos’ to secure the deal. They are threatening Warsaw with the prospect of a gas crisis, pressing the Poles to sign the contract during prime minister Vladimir Putin’s planned visit to Gdańsk on 1 September. It would be an unfavourable contract, Polska writes, making Poland dependent on Russian gas supplies until 2035. At the same time, Moscow has floated the idea of building a nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad enclave – a joint Russian-Polish-German project – at a time when the planned development of the Ignalina II plant in Lithuania looks increasingly uncertain. Moscow is also trying to seize control of the transit of gas through Poland to Western Europe, warns Polska.
Warsaw, meanwhile, is busy preparing a contingency plan that would make it independent from Gazprom, the Russian gas monopolist. ‘The Russians are not the only ones who sell gas in Europe, we can consider offers from several Western European suppliers,’ Maciej Woźniak, the prime minister’s senior energy policy adviser, told the daily. Western middlemen, such as Germany’s Ruhrgas or France’s GDFSuez, would supply gas to the Polish border, assuming responsibility for the negotiations, which would help Poland avoid entering into long-term contracts with the Russians.
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