EU Tells Gas Companies Not to Bend to Russia’s Demand for Rubles
18:54, Thursday, 28 April, 2022
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned companies not to bend to Russia’s demands to pay for gas in rubles, as the continent scrambles to respond to Moscow’s move to start switching off supplies.
Gazprom PJSC turned off the taps to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday in a dramatic escalation of the standoff between Russia and Ukraine’s European allies. Moscow was making good on a threat to cut supplies if payments weren’t made in local currency, and attention now turns to how Germany and Italy — the biggest European buyers of Russian gas — will respond.
Europe is trying to maintain a united front, but according to a person close to Gazprom, some European companies are taking steps that would allow them to comply with Moscow’s new rules. Uniper SE, a large German buyer of Russian energy, has said it believes it can keep up purchases without breaching sanctions.
“Companies with such contracts should not accede to the Russian demands,” von der Leyen said. “This would be a breach of the sanctions so a high risk for the companies.”