The threat of Russian president Vladimir Putin to supply gas to unfriendly countries only if they pay in rubles does not seem to have fallen on deaf ears among some European energy consumers. For example, the Bloomberg News Agency reported yesterday that at least four European customers paid Russian gas supplies in rubles.

In an interview with CNN, Hungarian Foreign minister Péter Szijjártó confirmed that Hungary is one of them.

Four European purchasers have already paid for gas deliveries in rubles in the way Putin had demanded, according to a source close to Russian gas giant Gazprom. That requirement involved opening two accounts at the bank of the Russian gas company Gazprom in Switzerland for the gas purchases: one in euros and one in Russian currency. In the settlement, Gazprombank is responsible for converting the currency and transferring the ruble payment.

In the meantime, One Nation has made it public to meet the Russian demands: Hungary. “Not for fun, we did not choose this situation,” said his foreign minister, who stressed that he saw “no alternative” because of the existing infrastructure. Hungary is taking 85 percent of its gas and 65 percent of its oil from the aggressor Ukraine.

Ten European companies have already opened the required accounts with Gazprombank. One of them is the German electricity supplier Uniper. “The plan is to make our payments in euros to an account in Russia,” a company spokesman told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

Gas distributors in Slovakia and Austria – including Vienna – based OMV-would also be preparing to open the ruble accounts with the Russian financial institution, according to sources from the Financial Times. In addition, the Italian Eni is said to be reconsidering its options, the business newspaper reports.

After the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow demanded to be paid for its gas supplies in rubles from April 1. But the Federation of States considers the mechanism proposed by the Kremlin with the two bills to be contrary to the punitive measures. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen even called it a blackmail.

Turning off the gas tap, however, did not appear to be an empty threat from the Russian regime. After Giving Thanks for the Gazprombank arrangement, gas supplies to EU member states Poland and Bulgaria were stopped yesterday.

Russia supplies gas through pipelines to 23 European countries.

About the author: Louise Roth

Louise Roth is the youngest member of WeeklyNewsReview team. Despite the young age Louise is interested in serious topics. Her main interests and education is all about economics and politics. But in our team she is the most productive do-it-all member, so she has to write on a variety of topics.

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