Poland Says Russia Stops Oil Flows Via Key Druzhba Pipeline

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Poland’s largest oil company PKN Orlen SA has unexpectedly stopped receiving oil via the Druzhba pipeline from Russia, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Obajtek said in a tweet on Saturday.

The halt comes a day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reached the one-year mark. Poland has been among the staunchest backers of Kyiv, sending humanitarian aid, weapons and accepting some 1.5 million refugees. It also was the first European country to have its gas deliveries cut off by Russia in 2022, days after the start of the war.

The company didn’t give the reason for the situation. Russia’s oil-pipeline operator didn’t immediately respond to request for a comment.

Russian oil accounts for about 10% of Polish supplies after the country rushed to slash imports following the Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Warsaw-listed Orlen said consumers won’t be impacted by the halt, for which it said it had prepared.

Poland has repeatedly said it plans to end Russian oil imports entirely, but needed European sanctions to be able to cancel the only remaining contract with a Russian supplier.

The northern leg of Druzhba pipeline, which runs to Germany and earlier supplied some refineries in the European Union’s largest economy, was until now being primarily used by Orlen. The pipeline’s southern branch was operating normally on Saturday.

US President Joe Biden visited Warsaw and Kyiv his week, pledging continued support for Ukraine. In a speech marking the one-year point of the invasion, Biden hit back at President Vladimir Putin, saying he would never win the war.

--With assistance from Olga Tanas.

(Updates with more details starting from 2nd paragraph.)

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