Sources, who asked to speak on condition of anonymity, said there were no plans to suspend gas supplies until the second half of May, when other payments in rubles for Russian fuel were due.
Gazprom said on Wednesday that it had completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgargaz (Bulgaria) and PGNiG (Poland) because it had not received payments in rubles for April deliveries by the end of Tuesday, as set out in Putin’s decree. March 31 for “unfriendly” countries, informs Agerpres.
The Russian president on that day ordered “unfriendly” countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and all EU member states – where Russian gas accounts for 40 percent of consumption – to pay for ruble supplies of Russian gas. The mechanism designed by Russia stipulates that these countries considered hostile must open a special account in rubles and another in foreign currency at Gazprombank.
Separately, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Wednesday that Austria would continue to pay for Russian gas in euros, not rubles, as TASS had previously reported. Calling the TASS report “fake news” that Vienna paid in rubles for Russian gas, Nehammer wrote on Twitter that “Austria strictly complies with EU sanctions by mutual agreement.” In Austria, it is estimated that 80% of the imported gas comes from Russia.
Speaking at a government meeting on the terms of payment between Austrian energy company OMV and Russian gas supplier Gazprom on Wednesday, Nehammer said Russian President Vladimir Putin had told him two weeks ago that euro payments would continue. to be accepted and that this remains unchanged.
Information received by dpa suggests that an agreement between OMV and Gazprom, according to which OMV will make payments in euros and Gazprom will convert them into rubles, has not been finalized.
For his part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that Bulgaria and Poland would henceforth be supplied with natural gas “by their neighbors in the European Union”.
“We will make sure that Gazprom’s decision has the least possible effect on European consumers,” the head of the European Commission promised in a short speech to the press.
On the other hand, she warned European companies that they were violating EU sanctions against Russia if they accepted Moscow’s request to pay in rubles for gas supplied by Gazprom.
“It simply came to our notice then. It would be a violation of sanctions and a high risk for companies, “said Ursula von der Leyen, according to EFE.
The European official refrained from confirming whether there were countries in the EU that agreed to pay for Russian gas in rubles and insisted that “payment in rubles, if not provided for in the contract, is a violation of our sanctions.”
Greece announced on Wednesday that it could help Bulgaria supply gas. According to Reuters, a Greek official said Bulgaria had already contracted quantities of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be delivered through a terminal in Greece. Another Greek source claims that Athens could help Sofia by reversing the flow of the TurkStream pipeline.
Bulgaria and Poland are the first countries to stop gas supplies to Russia on Wednesday after refusing to pay in rubles, with the Kremlin announcing that more will follow when the deadlines for payments for gas supplies made by Gazprom after April 1 come.
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