Sanctions busters

Germany, Austria and Hungary have agreed to pay for Russian natural gas in euros that are then converted into rubles, according to ARD of Germany, whereas Poland and Bulgaria do not want to accept this system and had their gas cut off. EU Commission Pres. Ursula von
der Leyen said yesterday that to pay in rubles, if it is not foreseen in the contract, is a breach of the EU’s sanctions. About 97% of all contracts explicitly stipulate payment in euros or dollars, she said, so it is very clear: “Companies with such contracts should not accede to the Russian demand. This would be a breach of the sanctions, so a high risk for the companies.” Her words about ruble payments aren’t entirely clear but suggest that if German companies are paying in euros that are then converted into rubles, they are violating the sanctions. Which would mean that Czech entities buying gas from them are doing business with sanctions busters. This is a high-risk situation for these Czech companies and for Czechs overall.

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