Slovakia to make Russian gas payments in rubles

“I have to provide energy for the Slovak economy,” notes Slovakia’s economy minister Richard Sulík

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Echo24, Czech News Agency
Richard Sulik, leader of the Freedom and Solidarity Party, addresses the media in reaction to the first preliminary results of the general elections at its party's headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Slovakia will reportedly accede to the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin and purchase Russian gas in rubles, the country’s economy minister, Richard Sulík, was quoted as saying by local media.

According to the Aktuality.sk news outlet, the minister told RTVS broadcaster that the country will comply with a decree made by Putin, ordering customers from “not friendly countries” to purchase Russian gas in the troubled currency. Such a request has been roundly rejected so far by Western officials.

“In order to not cut ourselves off the gas, we will pay in Russian currency unless we decide otherwise,” Sulík told the broadcaster.

The Slovak state gas company SPP currently pays for its gas supply in euros.

“I am the Minister of Economy, and I have to provide energy for the Slovak economy. I disagree with the war, but I also look at it from an economic point of view,” Sulík was quoted as saying by the Aktuality.sk portal.

In March, the invoice for gas from Russia was still in euros, as stated in the contract. Sulík admitted he does not know what the situation will look like with the next installment SPP must pay is due on May 20.

On Friday, the European Commission told businesses in the EU that they should not comply with Russia’s demand for payment for gas in rubles. The commission spokesman recalled that the vast majority of contracts on supplying this commodity from Russia explicitly stipulate payments in dollars and euros.

According to the Russian decree, foreign customers should now exchange rubles through Russian bank accounts. If they do not agree to this model, they risk a halt in supplies.

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