Russia rejects gas payment – media
Gazprombank, Russia’s key bank that handles European gas payments, has reportedly declined several payment attempts for April and May gas deliveries to Germany and Austria even though they were made through a ruble account. The bank rejected the transaction because the attempted payments came from a former Russian trading firm that was nationalized in Germany, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The Gazprom Marketing & Trading Limited (GM&T) had been controlled by Russia’s Gazprom Germania Group before April 4, when Berlin’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced that the subsidiary would come under the trusteeship of the German energy regulator until September 30.
The step was aimed at securing the nation’s energy supplies amid the unprecedented crisis in Europe that has been exacerbated by sanctions against Russia, the region’s major supplier of gas.
The rejected payment is reportedly part of a medium-term contract to supply 7 terawatt-hours of gas by the end of 2023.
In March, the Russian government issued a decree requiring European energy companies to open accounts at Gazprombank, where payments in euros or dollars would be converted to rubles. The measure was taken shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that hostile states, which have imposed economic sanctions on Moscow, pay for Russian gas in rubles.
Earlier this month, Brussels said that paying for Russian gas in rubles by European Union buyers as demanded by the Kremlin would breach Ukraine-related sanctions. However, several member states agreed to use the new payment mechanism and have made their first payments in the Russian currency.
The GM&T case, which reportedly deals with a very small amount of gas, involves a payment process that is “unclear,” according to the statement by Germany’s energy regulator. The gas is due to be paid for in euros as agreed in the contract, it said, adding that GM&T can replace the gas by buying on the open market if it needs to.
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