Half of Gazprom clients opened rouble accounts: Russia
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Thursday that about half of the 54 companies that have natural gas contracts with energy giant Gazprom opened accounts in rubles.
President Vladimir Putin has said that from April Russia will only accept payment for deliveries in its national currency, with buyers required to set up ruble accounts or have their taps turned off.
The announcement came in response to a litany of international sanctions that hit Moscow after it sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, including the freezing of its foreign currency assets held abroad.
"Today, I think, there are around 54 companies that have contracts with Gazprom Export," Novak said at a conference in Moscow, his remarks carried by the RIA Novosti news agency.
"About half them have already opened special accounts -- in foreign currency and in rubles-- with our authorised bank" to pay for gas, he added. He said that once April's figures are finalised there will be a list of "those who paid in rubles and those who refused to pay".
The European Commission said this week that anything going beyond paying for gas contracts in the stipulated currency violated sanctions against Russia.