According to a person close to the Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC, four European gas customers have already paid for supplies in rubles, as demanded by President Vladimir Putin. This was reported by Bloomberg.
Even if other customers reject the Kremlin’s terms, further shutdowns after Wednesday’s shutdown of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria are unlikely until the second half of May, when further payments are to be made, a Bloomberg source said on condition of anonymity.
Ten European companies have already opened accounts with Gazprombank, which are needed to meet Russia’s payment requirements, the agency said.
The Russians cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday after those countries rejected Gazprom’s proposed ruble payment mechanism. However, both countries have prepared for this step.
Poland, for example, has an unusual amount of gas in storage at the end of the heating season. “Currently, Polish gas storage tanks are 76 percent full,” says Michal Kocůrek from the consulting company EGÚ Brno.
Poland also announced in advance that it wanted to cut itself off from Russian gas by the end of this year, and did not want to extend the agreement with Gazprom, which was due to expire in December 2022. LNG terminals.
Austrians: We do not pay in rubles
The European Union has announced that it considers Russia’s move to be blackmailing the entire EU, to which the 27 states will respond together – but it is not yet clear what action Brussels will take. However, the price of natural gas on the Dutch stock exchange immediately reacted to this step by growing by almost twenty percent, then corrected this jump.
The European Union is currently preparing the sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So far, however, she has always anxiously avoided discussions about stopping Russian oil and gas imports. The Germans and Hungarians in particular insist on this.
Following Austrian Chancellor Karel Nehammer’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, there was speculation that the Austrians would join the state – but Nehammer denied that Austria would pay for rubles for gas.
“Before the fake news of Russian propaganda spreads further. Of course, OMV continues to pay for gas supplies from Russia in euros. Austria fully complies with the commonly agreed sanctions of the European Union, ” wrote Nehammer on twitter.
The agreements between the individual states and Gazprom provide for payments in euros or dollars, so the Russian requirement for ruble payments constitutes a violation of existing agreements. Brussels also told member states that the procedure proposed by Russia – that is, to open a euro and a ruble account with Russia’s state-owned Gazprombank and convert the bank for them – would violate the sanctions.
However, the Financial Times referred to the Hungarian profile of the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjart, where the chief diploma stated that his country had chosen exactly this procedure and that the next payment would take place on 22 May. Szijjarto added that the Slovaks did the same.
Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied that the Russians have blackmailed Europe. “Payment in the right form will be the basis for continued deliveries,” Peskov said, adding that “supplies will resume if these countries start paying rubles”.
Update: we added a statement from the Russian president’s spokesman and information from the Financial Times about the countries that opened an account with Gazprombank