Italy And Germany Agree To Approve Payments For Russian Gas In Rubles
EUROPE - Both Italy and Germany have authorized companies to open ruble accounts in order to purchase gasoline from Russia without violating the current sanctions that have been placed on Russia, according to Reuters and Radio Free Europe.
During a briefing on May 15th, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Germany has come to the realization that Russian gas is a weapon, that they had made the decision to cut off their reliance on it, but that they need a little more time to solve their gas issues.
He said that two months ago Germany said that an oil embargo on Russia would be impossible, but now it's one of the "leading states that are really pushing the oil embargo".
"We (in Berlin - ed.) talked a lot about the gas embargo and my impression is that the fundamental political decision that Germany's dependence on Russian gas is a huge problem and must be broken - such a decision was made. So they need a little more time to solve their gas issues. But it is very important to understand that Germany has finally realized that Russian gas is a weapon, a weapon that strikes, which Russia always keeps close to the temples of Ukraine, Germany and any other European country," Kuleba stated.
"We had a very rational discussion with the Germans, but I told them a simple thing: look, it will happen anyway. This is inevitable. Unequivocally, Ukraine will get the status of a candidate sooner or later, we want it to happen sooner - in time, at the end of June at the EU summit. Therefore, the choice before the German elites is very simple: either lead this process and write your names in the history of Europe, or it will still happen, but without your (German - ed.) Leadership," he added.
Starting April 1st, Russia began demanding that countries that it deems 'unfriendly' must pay for gas in Russian rubles. In order to pay for the Russian gas in rubles however, the country must first open accounts with Gazprombank.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that if the demand for paying for Russian gas in rubles is refused, then "existing contracts will be suspended".
At the end of April, Russian company Gazprom had announced that supplies of gas to both Bulgaria and Poland had been stopped. Polish authorities also announced that the country had become gas independent from Russia.
On May 21st the Finnish energy company Gasum announced that Russia had cut off gas supplies to Finland after Finland refused to pay for the gas in rubles.
Other EU countries are working on reducing dependency on Russian gas in order to lower Russia's ability to finance their war on Ukraine. Hungary however, is refusing to become gas independent from Russia.