Paying in rubles for Russian gas not violation of sanctions: Hungary

Payment in rubles for Russian gas is not a violation of European Union sanctions, Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs has said.

“The EU so far has no common procurement of gas and oil for European countries. So as we speak, we still go by alongside those contracts we have with Russians regarding gas and oil, and according to those contracts, it is a technical issue, in what currency we have to pay,” Kovacs said in an interview with CNN, which was posted on his Twitter page.

Kovacs said more than 80 per cent of the Hungarian population and the country’s economy are dependent on Russian gas, with no physical alternatives, Xinhua news agency reported.

Kovacs made the remarks in response to a statement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who said on Friday that such a move was a violation of EU sanctions aimed against Russia.

Earlier this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that his country would be willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stipulating that “unfriendly countries” would be required to pay for gas in the Russian currency.

The EU was in discussions with Budapest about the currency issue, according to von der Leyen.

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