Helsinki has rejected Moscow’s ruble-based payment scheme for gas, the local media reported on Wednesday. Russia imposed the payment mechanism last month on countries that have placed sanctions on Russia but continue to import its gas.
“We have made the decision in the government’s economic policy committee that Finland will not agree to ruble payments. The decision was already made at the beginning of April,” Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. She said that it could be seen as blackmail and part of “Russia’s geopolitical efforts.”
Russia has denied using natural gas exports as a tool to “blackmail” Europe, a charge also leveled by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“Russia has been and remains a reliable supplier, committed to its obligations” and the new terms for exporting the gas were “caused by unprecedented hostile steps against us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
Under the ruble-based mechanism, gas buyers are required to set up ruble accounts with Gazprombank. They are allowed to make payments in their currency of choice, but their payments will be converted into rubles to reach the gas provider through this account.