Italy’s Foreign Ministry Says Giving In To Moscow’s ‘Blackmail’ Would Violate EU Sanctions
Russia’s demand for ruble payments for natural gas cannot be met, according to Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who says doing so would violate EU sanctions.
“We cannot pay in rubles; Russia introduced a double invoicing scheme from the euro to the ruble, this is impossible as it would mean circumventing sanctions against the [Russian] Banco Central,» Di Maio said in an interview with Italy’s Radio 24.
According to him, Russia has imposed an embargo against itself. “From a technical point of view”.
Di Maio also said that the Italian government is currently working on new channels for the supply of natural gas, adding that Prime Minister Mario Draghi had already visited Algeria and planned to negotiate additional supplies with Angola and Congo in the near future.
“I am convinced that Italy should not tolerate any kind of blackmail. We need to diversify supplies, we haven’t done that yet, but we have to.” he said.
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the “hostile countries” which imposed sanctions on Moscow must now pay for Russian natural gas only in rubles.
The demand received a negative response from most of the EU. However, some nations, including Hungary and Slovakia, said they were willing to accept this method of settlement. The Kremlin also indicated that in the future, all Russian products will have to be paid for in rubles.
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