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Viktor Orban with Putin: Hungary to pay in rubles for Russian gas if Moscow demands it

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Russia has demanded that EU states pay for rubles in gas delivered from April 1, which they have refused. Deliveries are currently continuing, as the first payments for the volumes of gas delivered after this date are due in the second half of the month.

However, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday in response to a question from Reuters that Hungary would pay in rubles for Russian gas if Moscow demanded it, informs Agerpres.

The European Commission announced on Friday that European companies whose gas supply contracts with Russia stipulate that payment is made in euros or dollars should not comply with Russia’s request for payment in rubles.

The EU executive said it was working with energy companies and member governments to look into President Vladimir Putin’s decree, but companies whose gas supply contracts with Russia provide for payment in euros or dollars should not violate those provisions.

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Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto had said that EU authorities “have no role” with regard to payments under the gas supply agreement with Russia, which is based on a bilateral contract between the divisions of the Hungarian state-owned company MVM and Gazprom.

Hungary is one of the few EU member states that has rejected energy sanctions against Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine.

Slovakia will act like the European Union against Russia’s demands for ruble gas payments, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on Monday. According to the Polish gas company PGNiG, its original contract with Gazprom is binding on both parties.

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In Austria, OMV announced on Friday that it had initial contact with Gazprom regarding the payment in rubles for natural gas, although the Vienna government claims that there is no basis for payment in a currency other than the euro or the dollar.

Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil imports, signed a long-term gas supply agreement in 2021 under which Gazprom would deliver 4.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

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