Germany and Italy have told companies they could open rouble accounts to keep buying Russian gas without breaching sanctions against Moscow.
Russia’s demand that foreign buyers pay for gas in roubles has tested the resolve of European governments. Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland have refused to comply with Moscow’s demand and their gas supplies have been cut.
German gas importers were told by Berlin they can open rouble accounts to pay for Russian gas without violating sanctions, sources say. As long as payments to Gazprombank are not in the Russian currency, they do not breach sanctions.
EU guidance says companies can buy Russian gas if they pay in the currency of existing contracts. Most contracts EU firms have with Gazprom are in euros or dollars.
The guidance did not explicitly say that opening rouble accounts for those payments to be converted into Russian currency would be a breach of EU sanctions.