Hungary is planning to pay for gas from Russia in Euros via Gazprombank, which will be converted into Roubles, according to Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
Russian President Putin sent out a warning to Europe of the risk of a cut to gas supplies unless it is paid for in Roubles, as he seeks to retaliate over the sanctions imposed by the West.
As such, CEE Energy, a subsidiary of Hungarian energy group MVM, will pay an upcoming bill in Euros, which will be converted into Roubles by Gazprombank, and then be sent to Russia's Gazprom Export, the Foreign Minister stated.
There are only a few weeks remaining before payments are due, and the European Commission has said contracts requiring payment in Dollars and Euros should remain the same, Reuters reports.
Last week, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the country would pay for gas in Roubles, breaking away from the EU which wanted to show unity in the opposition of Russia’s demands.
"So we pay in Euros, the Euros are converted into Roubles by Gazprombank and the amount is paid to Gazprom Export. This solution doesn't violate any of the sanctions that have been imposed while also complying with the demands of the supplier," Szijjarto explained.
The Foreign Minister added that paying bills in another currency other than Euros was part of a bilateral agreement between CEE Energy and Gazprom Export that was finalised in September. He said this would be amended to show the planned modifications.
Szijjarto went on to say that Hungary, which depends on Russia for the majority of its oil and gas, was against the European Union putting on a united front, which Hungary deems a bilateral issue. Around 85% of Hungary’s gas and 60% of oil requirements are covered by imports from Russia.
"We will not vote in favour of sanctions on oil and gas because these would effectively shut down the Hungarian economy," Szijjarto added.
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