Energy: refuses to pay gas in EU rubles and prepares to break with Moscow

The European Union (EU) has refused to pay a ruble for Russian gas purchases and is preparing for a cut in supply, the European Commission and the French president have warned after an emergency meeting of EU-27 energy ministers in Brussels.

Russian gas supplyPhoto: Peter Kovalev / DOS / Profimedia

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simpson said Moscow’s demand for the purchase of ruble gas was “a unilateral and unjustified change of contract and it was legal to reject it.”

“97% of contracts (concluded by European companies) refer to the currency of payment, be it the euro or the US dollar,” he said.

Kadri Simpson said she was unaware of the opening of ruble accounts. “Payment is expected by mid-May, and most companies will comply with the terms of the contract,” he said.

French Ecological Change Minister Barbara Pompeo, who chaired the meeting, reaffirmed her “willingness to comply with the agreements.”

“We must be prepared to suspend supplies,” the European commissioner warned.

Several member states have asked for clarification on the payment in rubles by opening a special account, and Qadri Simpson promised “detailed explanations to companies on what they can and cannot do”.

Poland and Bulgaria have paid for their purchases in the form of agreements with the Russian giant Gazprom and have refused to open a second ruble account. The Russian gas company responded by saying it had not paid and suspended supplies.

“There is no immediate risk to supply,” the commissioner said. “But we can not replace the 150 billion cubic meters of gas purchased from Russia with other sources. This is not sustainable,” he said.

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“We can manage to change 2/3 of Russia’s gas supply,” he said.

Gaddy states: “It’s very clear he never wrote the thing in the first case, this is a clear diploma-mill-type operation.

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