EU to comply with Russia’s payment terms – media
Gas distributors in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia reportedly plan to open ruble accounts
Some of Europe’s largest energy firms are planning to use a new payment system for Russian gas supplies demanded by the Kremlin, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
Sources told the newspaper that gas distributors in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia aim to open ruble accounts at Gazprombank in Switzerland. They said that negotiations between European buyers and Russian gas supplier Gazprom have intensified as payment deadlines approach.
Under the new mechanism, European companies would continue to pay Gazprombank for their imports in euro in order not to breach the sanctions regime. The Russian bank, which is not under EU sanctions, would then, at their request, convert euro-denominated deposits into rubles in a second account opened in their name, for onward payment to the Russian gas provider.
“We consider that the amendment of the payment process complies with the sanctions law and so the payments are possible,” said chief financial officer of Germany’s Uniper Tiina Tuomela. read more RT
Four EU buyers made gas payments in rubles – media
Four European countries have already made gas payments to Russia using Moscow’s new ruble-based mechanism, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday citing a source close to Russian gas exporter Gazprom.
Also, according to the publication, at least 10 countries have set up ruble accounts with Russia’s Gazprombank, through which the payments for the Russian commodity will be made from now on. This was done to facilitate payments due at the end of May.
Bloomberg’s source said that Russia is unlikely to halt supplies to any more European countries, should they refuse the new payment requirement, until then.
Russia introduced the new ruble-based payment mechanism for natural gas exports last month, after the EU and several other countries imposed sanctions on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine. Under the new scheme, gas buyers from those countries are required to set up ruble accounts with Gazprombank.
They are allowed to make payments in their currency of choice, but through this account their payments will be converted into rubles to reach the gas provider.
Russia’s move left many EU leaders puzzled, and several countries, including Poland and Bulgaria, openly refused “to pay in rubles.” As a result, Russia on Wednesday halted gas deliveries to the two countries.
In total, Russia supplies pipeline gas to 23 European countries.