Italy ends opposition to ruble-denominated payments for Russian gas

(Xinhua) 08:29, May 13, 2022

ROME, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Italy said it is no longer opposed to European companies paying for natural gas from Russia in rubles, the Russian currency, according to media reports Thursday.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had been opposed to paying for Russian gas in rubles, after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to shut off gas to "unfriendly" countries if they refused to pay for gas supplies.

In late March, Italy announced Draghi discussed the situation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The leaders said then that they rejected the calls for payment in rubles, insisting that euro-denominated contracts be respected.

During his visit to the United States this week, Draghi said that there was no "official pronouncement" from the European Union about whether the use of rubles would amount to a breach of sanctions put in place against Russia in the wake of Russia's military operation in Ukraine. Draghi called the topic "a gray zone."

A spokesman for Draghi's office confirmed the prime minister's statements when contacted by Xinhua.

Separately, Eni, Italy's main energy supplier, said Thursday that it would make its payment this month to Russian gas company Gazprom in rubles.

According to media reports Thursday, sources close to Gazprom said 20 European energy suppliers had opened ruble-denominated accounts with Russian banks in order to facilitate ruble-denominated payments.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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