Germany says energy giant can use a Russian account to buy gas without breaching EU sanctions
- German energy giant Uniper can buy Russian
gasusing an account in Russiawithout breaching EU sanctions, the economy ministry said.
- Russia has demanded gas customers to create two accounts, one in rubles and one in foreign currency, with Gazprombank.
German energy giant Uniper wouldn't violate European Union sanctions if it opened an account in Russia to pay for gas, according to a German economy ministry spokesperson.
"For us, the account number doesn't matter, or the question of whether one or two accounts are opened in one place," spokesman Stephan Haufe said at a news conference Friday.
He noted that the most important thing is whether the transaction is completed in euros and dollars, as per the gas contracts.
On Thursday, the Financial Times reported that Uniper is among European energy companies that are preparing to register for a new payment mechanism that facilitates ruble payments.
The EU has said nations participating in Putin's currency conversion mechanism — opening a ruble account, specifically —would breach sanctions.
But the EU's guidance has also created room for confusion. Uniper said it's aiming to pay for Russian gas in euros in an account in Russia rather than in Europe, which the European Commission said could be allowed.
Still, Slovakian officials pointed out that an EU sanction breach could still occur, as Gazprombank automatically opens new euro and ruble accounts for European buyers, which then demands consent for Russia's central bank to convert the currencies.
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