Russian Deputy Prime Minister says some buyers agree to pay with Russian gas rubles

View shows the pipeline of a gas treatment facility operated by Gazprom on May 21, 2019 in the Bovanenkov gas field on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia. (MaximShemetov / Reuters)

Some Russian gas buyers have agreed to switch to payments in the ruble, Russia’s deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

“We look forward to a decision (to switch to rubles) from other importers,” he added in a comment published in the ministry’s internal magazine. He did not reveal the identity of the customer who had already switched.

President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russian gas buyers from “unfriendly” countries should pay in rubles. This is a move rejected by European Union authorities under Brock’s sanctions against Moscow.

Putin warned Europe that there is a risk that gas supplies will be cut unless paid in Russian currency as Moscow seeks to retaliate against what Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

In March, he proposed that energy buyers open an account at Gazprombank. There, payments in euros or dollars are converted into rubles.

Armenia has made several payments for Russia’s natural gas supply in the ruble, its Minister of Economy Vagan Kerobyan said in an interview with Russian media outlet RBC on Friday.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Sijart said on Monday that Hungary plans to pay Russian gas in euros through Gazprombank.