MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. Russian natural gas suppliers may settle with gas buyers from unfriendly countries in foreign currency if they collect debts for gas supplies from such buyers or if they repay the debt themselves, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree, published on Friday on the legal information portal.
The decree specifies that settlements can be made in a foreign currency, using a special account opened by an authorized bank on the basis of the application of the Russian supplier. Indebtedness for gas supplies will be considered as repaid after crediting the foreign buyer on such account.
At the same time, the document said that "the repayment of the foreign buyer's debt under the contract for the supply of natural gas is not a ground for resuming natural gas supplies by the Russian supplier in case the foreign buyer fails to comply with the procedure established by this decree".
Payment for Russian gas
Since April 1, buyers from unfriendly countries could pay for Russian gas only in rubles. However, taking into account the currency of contracts (which are usually dollars and euros), Moscow made a concession to its counterparts: customers would have to transfer money in foreign currencies to Gazprombank, which would buy rubles at stock exchanges and transfer them to special rubles accounts of importers to be paid from. At the same time, Russia will continue to supply gas in the volumes and at the prices fixed in the contracts concluded earlier.
The European Commission initially considered this scheme as a violation of the sanctions. However, as Bloomberg reported, the European Commission circulated new regulations according to which European importers would be able to continue paying for Russian gas without violating the sanctions imposed on Moscow, and open bank accounts for settlements in the currency stipulated by the contracts.