Bulgaria’s decision to refuse to pay for Russian gas in rubles was hasty, as stated on Sunday, May 22, by the country’s Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov. In an interview for BTV, he said that this issue will be put up for discussion with the European Commission (EC).
According to Nikolov, the EC made it clear that paying for Russian gas in rubles is a violation of sanctions, but he noted that the government of the country, after refusing to pay for gas from Russia in rubles, thought about the haste of such a decision.
Nikolov pointed out that Italy and Germany had previously announced to their companies the possibility of opening accounts in rubles to purchase Russian gas without violating anti-Russian sanctions. Therefore, Bulgaria intends to receive comments on the mechanism of the sanctions and find out whether it is really necessary to abandon payments in rubles.
On May 14, the EC issued a new regulation according to which European importers will be able to continue paying for Russian gas without violating the sanctions imposed on Moscow. The EU executive body informed the governments at a closed meeting that the management does not prevent companies from opening accounts with Gazprombank and will allow them to buy gas in accordance with EU sanctions.
Earlier, on April 27, Gazprom announced that it had completely suspended deliveries to Bulgargaz (Bulgaria) and PGNIG (Poland) due to the lack of payment for gas in rubles. The company clarified that Bulgaria and Poland are transit states. After that, it became known that Poland began to buy Russian gas in reverse from Germany via the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline after the suspension of direct supplies.