After Russia refused to accept a payment from a trading firm that Germany seized from Moscow's control following its invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission is escalating the situation further by threatening to outlaw, over time, the import of Russian oil.
"Berlin would support a phased approach to targeting oil rather than some of the other options that have been discussed, such as a price cap or payment mechanisms to withhold parts of Moscow's revenue, according to people familiar with talks among EU ambassadors," reported Bloomberg.
"The ban would also need to come with a transition period, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private."
The strategy is similar to one that the European Union imposed earlier in April by issuing a ban on coal.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen issued a statement condemning Russia for allegedly trying to fracture Europe's response with blackmail, referring to the country's refusal to accept payment from the seized trading firm.
Russia has already stated that, moving forward, it will need all gas and oil payments made in rubles, which is what Germany did. The problem is that the payment was attempted through Gazprom PJSC's German subsidiary, which is part of the sanctions enforcement.
Instead of backing down and being reasonable, and just letting the Kremlin deal with the bioweapons laboratory problem in Ukraine, Germany is doubling down with this new threat to slowly prohibit all imports of Russian oil in the country.
So far, just about everything Russia's enemies have tried to do has backfired, and only hurt the people of Germany, the EU, the United States and others.
Von der Leyen claimed Russia's demand that payments be made in rubles was "unilateral ... and not according to the contracts."
"Companies with such contracts should not accede to the Russian demands," she added. "This would be a breach of the sanctions so a high risk for the companies ... This is unjustified and unacceptable, and it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier."
Russia recently cut off all gas supplies to both Poland and Bulgaria after the two countries committed "nonpayment in rubles." This proved to the world that Russia was not bluffing when it made this demand and said that oil and gas will no longer be delivered to "unfriendly" nations.
European natural gas prices have consequently soared.
Some European countries have agreed to pay in rubles while others have not, further demonstrating that Europe's "united front" against Russia was all fake, and nothing but smoke and mirrors.
At least four European gas buyers have complied with Russia's demand for payment in rubles, and others still have time to follow suit if they do not want to be cut off from Russian oil and gas later in May.
These purchases in rubles blatantly violate EU directives, again showing that the EU really does not have as much power and control as it thinks it does.
"Pro-Russian EU member Hungary, meanwhile, has struck a deal to pay into a euro-denominated account with Gazprombank, which in turn will deposit the amount in rubles to Gazprom Export, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a video posted to Facebook," reported Zero Hedge.
Slovakia has reached the same agreement as more European countries realize that it is impossible to live without Russian energy sources.
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