Italy says companies can buy Russian natural gas in rubles, as the bloc scrambles to keep fuel flowing
- Italian Prime Minister
Mario Draghihas said he's confident Russian gassupplies can continue and that companies can pay in rubles.
- It's a "gray area" but there are no official EU rules that prevent payments in the Russian currency, he said.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said he's confident companies can pay for Russian
Draghi's comments on Wednesday appeared to go against guidance from European Union officials, who have pushed back against Russia's plans to switch gas payments to its domestic currency.
The Italian premier said he's confident payments and supplies will continue for the "silly reason" that the EU hasn't issued watertight guidance on the issue.
"There is no official pronouncement of what it means to breach sanctions," Draghi said. "Nobody has ever said anything about whether rubles payments breach sanctions or not."
Draghi said it's "such a gray zone." He said Germany's biggest company has already paid in rubles and that most gas importers have already opened accounts in the Russian currency.
The 27-member economic bloc has been left scrambling to secure supplies after President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia would only accept payment in rubles.
Moscow said companies should open both a euro and
But the G7 and EU rejected Putin's directive as they sought to maintain the pressure on Russia after a barrage of sanctions hit the economy.
Moscow cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in late April after they refused to comply with the payment scheme. The move underlined the economic dangers for a region that is highly dependent on Russian energy.
European natural gas prices rose sharply Thursday as Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted a key supply route. Dutch TTF, the continent's benchmark price, was up 15.5% Thursday morning.
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