Four European Gas Buyers Made Ruble Payments to Russia

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(Bloomberg) — Four European gas buyers have already paid for supplies in rubles as President Vladimir Putin demanded, according to a person close to Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC.

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Even if the other buyers reject the Kremlin’s terms, more cutoffs after the halt in gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria Wednesday aren’t likely until the second half of May when the next payments are due, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

Ten European companies have already opened the accounts at Gazprombank needed to meet Russia’s payment demands, the person said.

Supplies to Poland and Bulgaria were cut off after they refused Gazprom’s proposed mechanism for ruble payments, which the gas giant says does not violate European Union sanctions, according to the person. Russia supplies gas via pipelines to 23 European countries.

After the EU imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow demanded that it be paid in rubles for shipments starting April 1. But the bloc told member states that the mechanism the Kremlin proposed, which required opening euro and ruble accounts with state-controlled Gazprombank, would violate the sanctions.

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