Bulgaria may seek exception to any EU sanctions on Russian gas and oil

(EurActiv, 8 Mar 2022) Bulgaria supports sanctions on Russia as a means to halting its invasion of Ukraine, but will likely seek an exception on banning Russian natural gas and oil imports if such a proposal is put forward, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Monday (7 March).

EU and NATO member Bulgaria is almost completely dependent on gas supplies from Russia’s Gazprom, while its only oil refinery, owned by Russia’s LUKOIL, provides over 60% of the fuel used in the country.

The United States is willing to move ahead with a ban on Russian oil imports into the United States without the participation of allies in Europe, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Germany, the biggest buyer of Russian crude oil, has rejected plans to ban energy imports, a stance Petkov supported.

“Bulgaria would support all kinds of measures, because we are really against the war, but these two (oil and gas), maybe we would ask for an exception… We do not have current alternatives right now, we are too dependent,” Petkov said in an interview with Reuters.

“We are fully supporting the Ukrainian people, we supported the first package of sanctions, we are even open-minded for other sanctions as well, just these two sanctions, it would be very hard for us to take as an economy and as a country,” he said.

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EurActiv, 8 Mar 2022: Bulgaria may seek exception to any EU sanctions on Russian gas and oil