Some European leaders are leaning towards a “vague agreement” that would allow supplies to continue through a key pipeline to Hungary and other countries. This was announced on May 28 by Bloomberg columnists John Follein and Alberto Nardelli.
As Follein and Nardelli noted, the main focus of the European Union has been Hungary’s refusal to support sanctions, but some countries are yielding to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s demand for gas payments in rubles.
According to observers, there has been a split in the European Union between its western and eastern members on the supply of weapons to Ukraine, dialogue with the Russian president and the conditions that Kyiv will have to accept as part of a future peace treaty.
“Diplomats and officials are becoming increasingly frustrated that the EU is likely running out of opportunities to deliver a painful economic blow to Russia,” the article says.
Observers also drew attention to the delay in negotiations on an embargo on Russian oil supplies.
Earlier, on May 26, The Washington Post reported that the EU countries made concessions to Russia on the issue of paying for gas in rubles due to fear of a crisis. Such a development of events, specified in the material, speaks of the victory of the Russian side.
On May 24, Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said that the country mistakenly hastened to refuse to pay for Russian gas in rubles. He promised to bring the relevant issue up for discussion with the European Commission (EC).
In addition, the minister pointed out that Italy and Germany had previously announced to their companies the possibility of opening accounts in rubles to buy Russian gas without violating anti-Russian sanctions.
On May 14, the EC issued a new regulation, according to which European importers will be able to continue to pay for Russian gas without violating the sanctions imposed on Moscow. At the same time, some countries were confused by the lack of specific instructions for opening accounts in rubles.
Two days earlier, Bloomberg also reported that 20 European companies had already opened accounts with Gazprombank to pay for Russian gas in accordance with Moscow’s terms.
On March 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country would switch to paying for gas supplies to unfriendly states in rubles. On March 31, a corresponding decree was signed, after which the buyers had to open ruble accounts from which gas payments would be made. But some Western countries have said they are not going to follow this requirement.
Putin’s instruction to convert gas transactions into rubles came against the backdrop of anti-Russian sanctions imposed by a number of foreign countries in response to Russia’s ongoing special operation to protect Donbass since February 24.