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BERLIN: Germany’s gas importers are allowed to open rouble accounts to pay for Russian gas, according to two people familiar with the matter, as a deadline to switch to a new mechanism proposed by Moscow draws nearer.

Opening rouble accounts would not violate sanctions as long as payments would not be made in that currency, the people said.

The European Union’s executive told member states this week they can keep buying Russian gas without breaching sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, EU officials said earlier on Thursday.

The Commission advised companies against opening a bank account in roubles at Gazprombank to do this, as requested by the Kremlin, but has not explicitly said doing so would breach sanctions in its formal written guidance to governments on the issue.

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