Russia’s Gazprom bank has for the first time refused to accept a payment in euros from a German gas trader. Trading company and former Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Marketing & Trading, which was placed under German trusteeship in March after Gazprom pulled out, tried to pay for gas deliveries in April and May by using a roubles account but the payment was not accepted, according to a report in the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. The federal economy and climate ministry confirmed the rejection and told news magazine Der Spiegel that there are ‘ambiguities in the processing of the payments’. The ministry stated that the payments concerned only marginal gas quantities of about 0.2 % of the Russian import volumes to Europe which would be replaced by purchases on the market and did not endanger supply security in Germany, adding that payments are not to be made in roubles, but in euros, as contractually agreed.
Refusing the payments constitutes a further escalation in the Russian-European energy conflict. It follows shortly after Russia's announcement to end gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. The German government has said that it is ready to impose an embargo on Russian oil imports.