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Uniper, one of Germany’s largest energy companies, has revealed that it is preparing to buy Russian gas through a ruble payment system, which several European Commission officials say is violating sanctions on Russia.
Uniper will pay in euros under the purchase agreement, but they will be converted into rubles, as demanded by President Putin in early April, to Russian gas customers in hostile countries. “We believe that the currency conversion of the payment is possible in accordance with the sanctions imposed by the European Union and Russia,” said a spokesman for the German company, quoted by the BBC.
It is not possible for our company and for Germany as a whole to operate without Russian gas in the short term. That would have dramatic consequences for our economy. “
This position came to light two days after Gazprom cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, when operators in both countries did not pay in rubles for deliveries in April.
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According to the Financial Times, other major European companies are considering carrying out the transactions required by Russia, according to the Austrian OMV and the Italian ENI. These terms and conditions include the opening of an account with Gazprom Bank, the Swiss finance department of a Russian state gas company, whose money will be converted into Russian currency in another ruble-denominated account with the same bank.
This week, however, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed that these transactions violated financial sanctions. This position was confirmed this Thursday by a European Union spokesman quoted by the BBC, who described these operations as “a clear evasion of sanctions” because they involve the Russian central bank (because of the ruble).
We cannot accept that companies are being forced to open a second account and that the transfer of money between the first account and the second account in euros is in the hands of the Russian authorities and the Russian Central Bank, and that this payment was not completed until it was converted into rubles. ”