Russian sanctions: German energy company agrees to Russian ruble conversion plan 2022-04-28 16:30:59

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German energy company Uniper has ceded to Russia’s demands It will use a ruble conversion scheme outlined by Moscow despite fears it will undermine sanctions.

Moscow Threatened to pull the plug on gas supplies in Europe unless companies make payments in rubles. The Kremlin has worked with Russia’s gas company Gazprombank to create a system that allows companies to deposit foreign currency into one account while Gazprom completes transactions in rubles.

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On Thursday, Uniper said it had no choice but to use the system, and a BBC spokesperson said it was confident the deal still complied with EU sanctions.

“For our company and for Germany as a whole, it is not possible to do without Russian gas in the short term; this will have serious consequences for our economy,” the spokesman said.

Other European energy companies have reportedly planned to follow suit and take advantage of the Russian scheme.

European Commission Advised last week Firms that may not violate the Moscow sanctions plan, stressing that compliance will likely be necessary to meet contractual obligations.

The commission initially said the program might violate sanctions, but this week indicated that the proposal did not necessarily violate sanctions.

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“It is desirable to obtain confirmation from the Russian side that this procedure is possible under the rules of the decree,” said a document from the commission, noting that companies must make clear statements that they consider contractual obligations complete when they make deposits. In the originally agreed currency, which will almost all be in dollars or euros.

Brussels has also said there are options that may allow companies to continue to legally pay for gas, but the procedures for securing the exemptions are not yet clear.

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Gazprom He said on Wednesday It shut down gas to the two European Union countries in retaliation for unpaid energy bills for April when they refused to comply with Moscow’s demands and pay in Russian currency.

“Gazprom’s unilateral announcement of halting gas deliveries to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as a tool for blackmail,” EU President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

“This is unjustified and unacceptable. It shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a supplier of gas,” she added.

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Von der Leyen said EU countries are “prepared for this scenario” and have been in close contact to identify other ways to supply Poland and Bulgaria with their energy needs.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.

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