Germany and Italy have told their companies after discussions with the EU that they can open ruble accounts to continue buying Russian gas without violating sanctions against Moscow.
This was reported by Reuters, citing its sources, BTA reports.
According to two sources, German gas importers have been told by Berlin that they can open accounts in rubles, as long as the payments they make to Gazprombank are not in Russian currency.
It is noted that Germany, which is the largest importer of Russian gas in the region, has acted on the issue in close coordination with the EU.
The Italian government has also contacted the European Commission and received clarifications on how to buy Russian gas legally, a senior government source told Reuters. This happened before the Italian energy company Eni announced on Tuesday that it has started a procedure for opening two accounts, one in euros and one in rubles, the source added.
Reuters notes that Poland, Bulgaria and Finland have refused to comply with Moscow’s request for importers to pay for gas through ruble accounts with Gazprombank.
Meanwhile, it became clear that the Slovak gas company SPP opened a ruble account with Gazprombank and announced that it had paid in euros for the supply of Russian natural gas, thus accepting Moscow’s request for a payment scheme for natural gas supplies.
The European Commission has announced that member states can continue to buy Russian natural gas without violating sanctions against Russia. At the same time, Brussels recommended not to open ruble accounts in Gazprombank, as the Kremlin wants, but did not explicitly say that this violates the imposed sanctions.
The Slovak company SPP announced that they have been issued an invoice in euros, and the conversion into rubles is taking place at this time and is beyond the control of Bratislava.
Russia’s state-owned Gazprom has officially cut off gas supplies to neighboring Finland this morning, Reuters reported, citing the gas transmission network operator Gasgrid Finland.
The agency notes that this is another episode of escalating tensions between Russia and Western countries over disputes over the payment for Russian “blue fuel”.
“Gas imports through the Imatra entry point have stopped,” Gazgrid Finland said in a statement.
Yesterday, the Finnish wholesale gas company Gazum said it had been warned by Gazprom that supplies of blue fuel would be cut off at 4 a.m. Greenwich Time today.
This came after Gazum refused to comply with Russia’s request to pay Gazprom Export in rubles.
Against this background, the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Serhiy Marchenko asked the countries of the Group of Seven (G7) to impose a full oil and gas embargo on Russia because of the war.
“We need a full embargo on oil and gas,” he was quoted as saying by the Japanese newspaper Nikkei.
According to him, if “the G-7 continues to import Russian gas, then Moscow will use these funds for aggression against Ukraine.”
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