The EC urged companies not to comply with Russia’s demands to pay for gas in rubles

The European Commission still considers the transition to paying for Russian gas in rubles as a violation of sanctions. According to the head of the EC von der Leyen, if companies comply with Moscow's demands, this will carry “high risks” for them

Ursula von der Leyen

European companies pay for Russian gas in rubles violates EU sanctions, said the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

According to her, companies whose contracts provide for payment in dollars or euros should not switch to rubles.

“Companies with such contracts should not agree to Russian demands. This would be a violation of the sanctions, which means that there is no high risk for companies, — Bloomberg quotes the words of the head of the European Commission.

Earlier, an agency source close to Gazprom said that ten European buyers had already opened special accounts with Gazprombank to pay for Russian gas supplies under the new scheme, and four European buyers paid in accordance with the requirements of Moscow.

In total, the list of unfriendly countries for which the new payment mechanism was introduced includes 23 states. Russia introduced this mechanism after new Western sanctions, which were a response to the events in Ukraine, including the freezing of part of the Central Bank's reserves abroad. To avoid freezing the funds received for the sale of gas, Russia has obliged buyers to open two special accounts with Gazprombank: currency and ruble. After the payment arrives on the first account, the bank sells this currency on the stock exchange, after which it credits the received rubles to the ruble account.

In the European Union, this method of payment was considered an attempt to circumvent sanctions. A number of European countries did not agree with him, in particular Poland and Bulgaria, in which Gazprom subsequently suspended deliveries.

Read on RBC Pro Pro 6 career-important skills you'll learn while looking for a job »: How Industry Responds to Sanctions Research Pro Increased prices and reorientation of exports. What awaits Russian oil and gas Articles Pro Why are the authorities going to deprive foreign securities of tax benefits Articles Pro Does the “unfriendly country” argument work in a dispute over a foreign brand Articles Pro How will consumer and marketing in Russia change in 2022 Articles

After the suspension of supplies, the EC accused Russia in blackmail with the help of gas. The Kremlin said they don't think so. As Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov noted, the need to switch to a new system of payment for Russian gas was dictated by the fact that a significant amount of reserves was stolen from Russia, but the country “has been and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources to its consumers.” and is still “committed to its contractual obligations.”

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