The Finnish minister responsible for European affairs Tytti Tippurainen stated on Thursday that Finland would not pay for Russian gas in Russian roubles, despite Russia’s request.
“Finland is clear in its stance. She stated that she supports harsh sanctions and is ready to sanction gas. “Our policy is clear. We will not pay in roubles. This is up to the Russian counterparts to do this within their contractual framework.”
The new Russian payment system requires buyers to deposit dollars or euros into an account at Gazprombank. This converts the funds into roubles and then transfers the money to Gazprom.
Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that “unfriendly” countries pay gas in roubles, or be cut off.
Although the European Commission accuses Moscow of blackmailing it over its demand, the advisory note last week stated that Russian gas buyers could participate in the scheme provided they could confirm payment was completed once they had deposited euros. This is in contrast to later when the euros were converted into roubles.
Finland uses gas very little for heating homes. It accounts for about 7% of energy in Finland, which is far lower than other European countries.
Fortum, a Finnish utility, which holds 50.76% of the state’s stake, announced on Thursday that its German subsidiary Uniper would continue paying in euros for Russian Gazprom gas via the new payment method.
Tuppurainen is also responsible for state-owned businesses and said Uniper should follow the German government’s energy policy.
She stated that EU-level guidelines are needed to ensure that member countries do not have conflicting interpretations of the payment in roubles.
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