Poland has been a major gateway for the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and confirmed this week that it is sending the country tanks. It has also been a vocal proponent of sanctions against the Kremlin.

Russia cut off natural gas to NATO members Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday and threatened to do the same to other countries, dramatically escalating its standoff with the West over the war in Ukraine. European leaders decried the move as “blackmail.”

A day after the U.S. and other Western allies vowed to speed more and heavier weapons to Ukraine, the Kremlin used its most most essential export as leverage against two of Kyiv’s staunch backers. Gas prices in Europe shot up on the news, AP reports.

The tactic could eventually force targeted nations to ration gas and deal another blow to economies suffering from rising prices. At the same time, it could deprive Russia of badly needed income to fund its war effort.

Western leaders and analysts portrayed the move by the Kremlin as a bid to divide the allies and undermine their united support of Ukraine.

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