Italy open to pay temporarily for Russian gas with rubles

ROME — Italy wants the European Commission to clearly spell out how companies can pay for Russian gas without falling afoul of sanctions levied after the invasion of Ukraine, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Monday.

“It’s very important that the Commission expresses a clear legal opinion on whether paying in rubles is a breach of sanctions or not,” Draghi said after a Cabinet meeting. “‘Because if there is not clarity or a line of conduct then it is clear that each company or each country will do as it believes fit.”

His comments came in the wake of Roberto Cingolani, the Italian minister in charge of energy security, saying European energy companies should provisionally be allowed to comply with Russian demands to pay for gas in rubles.

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“I think at the moment the understanding is not complete from the point of view of legal issues and implications. I think it would be good for a few months, at least, to allow companies to go ahead and pay in rubles, while we understand the legal framework and implications,” he told POLITICO, adding that he wants “a speedy and very clear pronouncement from the European Commission” confirming that oil and gas companies can pay in rubles for the time being.


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