The European Commission appears to be deliberately maintaining an unclear stance on Moscow’s demand for natural gas supply payments in the ruble currency, an in-between position that presently enables European companies to abide by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s related decree without breaching EU sanctions imposed on Russia.
Yesterday’s EU council meeting of energy ministers for a common European stance on Russia’s ruble-currency payment demand for Gazprom natural gas failed to produce an agreement, instead maintaining the ambiguity that has hovered in recent weeks.
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson reiterated that payments for Russian natural gas in the ruble currency would represent a violation of European sanctions on Russia, and, as a result would not be accepted. However, she did not offer specific advice on how European companies should make their payments for Russian natural gas when the next round of payments are due. Simson ascertained that clearer directions would soon be issued, without specifying when.
Italian minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani has allegedly supported that European companies must be given the ability, at least temporarily, to conform to Russia’s payment demands, according to a Politico report.
However, the Italian government has denied that Rome is preparing to make ruble-currency gas payments to Russia, describing the Politico reports as misleading.