Source NFP

WARSAW, Poland--Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has expressed “disappointment” that some EU member states are willing to pay for Russian gas in roubles, amid reports that the European Commission has proposed ways to allow them to do so without breaking sanctions.

Poland recently saw its Russian gas supplies cut off by Gazprom after it refused Moscow’s demand to pay in roubles. It has consistently pushed for a tougher EU line against Russia, including a rapid end to energy imports.

Over the weekend, however, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported, based on inside sources, that a closed meeting took place in Brussels on Friday at which the European Commission presented an interpretation of how to pay in roubles for Russian gas without violating sanctions.

The report indicated that the commission’s position received support from, among others, Germany and France but was opposed by countries including Poland and the Netherlands.

Commenting publicly on Sunday, Morawiecki said that he was “disappointed to see that there is consent for paying for gas in roubles, something that Putin was trying to achieve”, reports PAP.

“It is not [just] one or two member states, but several or perhaps even more EU countries that want to give in and pay in roubles,” he continued. “We are saying a firm ‘no’. Let us move away from Russian hydrocarbons as quickly as possible.”

“Unfortunately [in the EU] solutions are often developed on the lowest common denominator,” added the Polish prime minister. “That means that if Germany, Hungary, Austria or the Netherlands are opposed to something, we cannot implement another package of sanctions without their consent.”

As many as 20 European companies have set up special accounts at Gazprombank to enable them to pay for gas under rules imposed by the Kremlin, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing sources at Gazprom. Another 14 companies have asked the bank to provide the necessary documents for this purpose.

Poland’s state utility PGNiG has refused to comply with Moscow’s demands, leading to last month’s cutting of gas supplies. The Polish government had already been planning to end the import of Russian gas (as well as oil and coal) this year.

However, while Poland has long been diversifying away from Russian supplies, other countries are more reliant on Moscow to meet their energy demands.

According to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily, EU ambassadors will meet again this week to discuss the issue of paying for Russian gas in rubles, as it continues to raise a lot of controversy. At the same time, the EU is still working on another sanctions package that could include a ban on Russian oil.

“We are among those calling for a package of radical sanctions because we believe that this war can be stopped not only militarily, but also economically,” said Morawiecki.

“We are in the crucible of geopolitical change and we cannot allow Russia to blackmail us all. If they will understand all of this, I believe that this will also be a very important factor that will lead to a quicker end to the war,” he added.