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Baltic state may agree to pay for Russian gas in rubles

Latvia’s main gas operator says it won’t rule out paying for Russian natural gas in rubles, revealing that the new settlement method announced by Moscow is being evaluated from a legal and business perspective.

“According to the first impression, the settlement procedure in Russian rubles does not formally violate the sanctions regime and is possible,” Latvijas Gaze said in a statement.

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Earlier, Aigars Kalvitis, the board chairman of Latvijas Gaze, which is partially owned by Russia’s Gazprom, said the company couldn’t pay for natural gas supplies from Russia in rubles, since the current contract stipulates that all transactions must be made in euro.

READ MORE: Slovakia agrees to pay for Russian gas in rubles

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to take necessary steps to switch all payments for gas sales involving “hostile” countries to Russian currency from April 1. According to the Kremlin, the change concerns nations that imposed sanctions against Russia with the intention of damaging the country’s economy, which includes most EU member states.

Putin warned EU countries that they would need to set up ruble accounts to pay for Russian gas, saying that existing contracts would be halted if the payments were not made.

On Saturday, the head of Latvia’s natural gas storage operator Conexus Baltic Grid said that all the Baltic states – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – were no longer importing Russian natural gas.

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