EXPLAINER: What's behind Russia's natural gas cutoff?

Russian President Vladimir Putin,  Jan. 26, 2022
Posted at 11:40 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 11:40:40-04

Russia's playing hardball on natural gas.

State-owned exporter Gazprom says it's stopping pipeline deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria.

Russia is demanding payment in rubles, not dollars and euros.

European leaders have rejected ruble payments, saying one side can't change longstanding contracts in dollars and euros.

But it's about more than that. Europe's under pressure to reduce its imports from Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, both to avoid paying into President Vladimir Putin's war chest and to avoid being pressured by Russia with energy cutoffs.

But that's going to take time, and Europe will be under pressure to restock its gas reserves by next winter's heating season