EU energy ministers rejected Russia’s demand to pay for gas supplies in rubles.
Germany has stated that it is ready to support an immediate EU embargo on the import of Russian oil. This statement means a green light for the imposition of an embargo within a few days.
“We have managed to reach a situation where Germany can withstand the oil embargo,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday. He also added that Germany is aware of the consequences of such a step.
It is expected that a sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia will be proposed this week, including an embargo on the purchase of Russian oil, a measure depriving Moscow of large revenues. But until recently, there were disagreements among EU countries about this measure.
In order to preserve the unity of the bloc, which includes 27 countries, the EU Energy Commission may make an exception for Hungary and Slovakia, which are significantly dependent on Russian oil, and allow them a long transition period, EU officials said on Monday.
Austria’s climate and Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said Vienna would agree to oil sanctions if other EC countries did so.
According to the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research, EU countries paid Russia more than 46 billion euros for gas and oil after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
The EU accounts for 26% of Russian oil exports and 40% of Russian gas.
On Monday, EU energy ministers held talks discussing Russia’s demand that foreign buyers pay for gas in rubles.
European ministers rejected the scheme proposed by Moscow. They said that allowing Russia to convert foreign payments into rubles would be a violation of sanctions imposed by the European Union.
“The payment of rubles through a conversion mechanism managed by Russian state authorities and a second allocated account in Gazprombank is a violation of sanctions and cannot be accepted,” Kadri Simson, head of the EU Energy Commission, said at a press conference in Brussels.
According to Reuters, the gas flow through the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, which delivers gas from Russia through Poland to Germany, was stopped on Monday. This is evidenced by the data of the Gascade gas pipeline operator.