Moscow/Berlin, Mar 30 (EFE).- Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday that European firms can continue to use euros to buy Russian natural gas, despite Moscow’s demand that countries which imposed sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine pay for commodities in rubles.
Two days before Russia’s announced deadline for “unfriendly” nations to start paying in rubles, the Russian president assured Scholz that payments from Europe “would continue to be in euros and transferred as usual to the Gazprom Bank, which is not affected by sanctions,” German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.
Gazprom Bank, exempted from sanctions because of its importance to the energy trade, will then convert the euros into rubles, according to Hebestreit’s account.
The thrust of Putin comments to Scholz and – in a separate conversation – to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was that Moscow’s decision “should not lead to worsening of contractual terms for European importer companies of Russian gas,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The Kremlin stressed that the change in the payment mechanism was a response to the actions of European Union member-states that froze hard currency reserves of Russia’s central bank “in violation of the norms of international law.”
Germany, Europe’s industrial powerhouse, gets roughly 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia. EFE