Latvia is the latest European country to be cut off from Gazprom’s gas flows, after the Kremlin-backed energy giant accused the country of violating its supply conditions.
Russia has already turned off the taps into 12 European Union (EU) member states including Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark.
It has also halted gas sales to Shell Energy Europe in Germany – which triggered Uniper’s massive €15bn bailout.
Energy firms from these countries refused to pay for gas in line with an order by President Vladimir Putin requiring rouble accounts to be set up in a Russian bank.
Latvian energy firm Latvijas Gaze revealed last week it would only buy gas from Russia in euros.
Latvia is an EU member and NATO military alliance member bordering Russia – it’s Government said the decision would have little impact on its gas supplies.
Edijs Saicans, deputy state secretary on energy policy at the Latvian Economy Ministry, argued the move was meaningfles because Latvia has already decided to ban Russian gas imports from January next year.
He said: “We do not see any major impacts from such a move.”
Europe races to cut energy usage ahead of winter
Russia has escalated tensions with Europe and put further strain on the bloc’s energy supplies this week, cutting Nord Stream 1 gas flows to 20 per cent of capacity.
Supplies were already reduced to 40 per cent prior to ten days of maintenance in July.
Gazprom has blamed Western sanctions for creating difficulties with the delivery of a key turbine to Germany from Canada.
It has argued maintenance was not in line with the contract, stepping up criticism of manufacturer Siemens Energy.
The EU has dismissed the concerns over the turbine as a pretext for cutting off gas flows, with the turbine not even required for the pipeline until later this year.
While Latvia has maintained a bullish position on the escalating energy crisis, the EU has been scrambling to secure supplies from other buyers, most recently holding talks with Nigeria.
EU member states have now agreed emergency regulation to voluntarily curb gas usage 15 per cent this winter.
Yet, some countries are feeling the pressure more acutely than others.
While the bloc is typically dependent on Russia for 40 per cent of its imports, Germany used to rely on Gazprom for half its supplies.
Cities across the country are now looking at further methods of reducing energy usage.
Berlin, the German capital, has switched off spotlights to save electricity.
Munich has announced it would switch off spotlights on its town hall on Marienplatz square, which is usually lit up until 11pm, and have only cold water at municipal offices.
Fountains would also be turned off at night.
Nuremberg is closing three of its four city-run indoor swimming pools and will keep its outdoor lidos open until 25 September.
Hanover has gone even further, not just switching off spotlights on public monument and turning off fountains.
It is also imposing cold showers on municipal swimming pools and sports halls.
Meanwhile, municipal buildings in city will only be heated at than 20C from October to March, while banning the use of mobile air conditioning units and fan heaters.