The switch to rubles for gas payments, announced earlier this week by Russian President Vladimir Putin, would force the European Union to circumvent its own anti-Russia sanctions if it wants to keep the gas flowing in, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported, citing economy experts.
According to Düsseldorf economist Jens Südekum, in order to pay for gas deliveries, Europe would have to buy rubles from the Central Bank of Russia, which earlier this month was placed on an EU sanctions list. The measure prohibits any financial transactions between the Russian financial regulator and EU.
“Putin is indirectly forcing us to bypass our own sanctions,” Südekum told the publication. Another expert, Klaus-Jürgen Gern of the Institute for World Economics in Kiel, added that, due to the importance of Russian gas to EU nations (40% of the bloc’s gas needs are covered by Russian imports), the proposed measure “will exert massive pressure on the Western world” and effectively “make their sanctions absurd.”