Germany and Italy allow companies to pay in rubles for Russian gas

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Germany and Italy have allowed their energy companies to open accounts with Gazprombank to pay for Russian gas in roubles, Reuters reported.

The move, which follows discussions with the European Union (EU), allows German and Italian gas importers to comply with EU sanctions against Russia following the military war against Ukraine.

The EU has issued two sets of written guidelines on how to buy Russian gas while respecting its sanctions.

A legal path remains unclear as EU officials have also advised energy firms not to open accounts with Gazprombank, the news agency reported.

Some European countries, including Bulgaria, Poland and Finland, however, refused to comply with Russia’s demand to pay for the gas in roubles.

As a result, Russia suspended gas supplies to these countries.

Following the suspension of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, Russian energy giant Gazprom has reduced its gas exports to Finland, further aggravating the dispute over energy payments between Russia and Western countries.

Finnish gas grid operator Gasgrid Finland said in a press release: “The gas supply through the Imatra entry point was stopped on May 21, 2022.”

In order to reduce dependence on Russian gas, Gasgrid Finland has signed a ten-year charter contract with the American company Excelerate Energy for a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU).

The project is expected to supply reliable and secure liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Finland, Estonia and the Baltic Sea region.

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