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Russian oil transit to three European countries halted over payment issues

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The receiver station of the Druzhba oil pipeline between Hungary and Russia is seen at the Hungarian MOL Group's Danube Refinery in Szazhalombatta, Hungary, May 18, 2022. (Reuters photo)

Russia says the supply of its oil to three European countries through Ukraine has been halted over transit payment issues caused by Western sanctions.

Russian state pipeline operator Transneft said Tuesday that the Ukrainian side has stopped the oil transport through the southern leg of the Druzhba pipeline, which flows through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The company said payment for the oil transit via the pipeline cannot be processed due to financial sanctions targeting Moscow.

“On August 4, the delivery of Russian oil via the territory of Ukraine was halted,” the oil pipeline operator said in a statement on Tuesday.

The company said the Ukrainian side stopped the oil transport “due to not receiving funds for these services”.

A spokesman for a Slovak refinery also confirmed oil transportation through the pipeline has been suspended for several days now.

“According to our information, there were technical problems at the bank level in connection with the payment of transit fees from the Russian side,” Anton Molnar said in a statement.

Russia normally supplies nearly 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) through the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline.

The US and the European Union have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia since it started a military operation in Ukraine on February 24. The sanctions have cut Russia off of international financial institutions.

Meanwhile, Russia, the world's second biggest oil exporter and leading gas exporter, has reduced gas pipeline flows to many EU members too.

Last week, Russia's energy giant Gazprom said the sanctions imposed by the West against Moscow have made it impossible for the company to receive a turbine needed to keep gas flowing to Europe.

Gazprom said that the delivery of the turbine needed to stream gas to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was impossible because of the anti-Russia sanctions.

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