Sulik: If It's Necessary, We Should Pay for Russian Gas in Roubles
Bratislava, April 3 (TASR) – Speaking on RTVS’s discussion programme ‘O 5 minut 12’ (Five Minutes to Twelve) on Sunday, Economy Minister Richard Sulik (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) stated that Russia’s current demand for payment of gas supplies in roubles is a violation of concluded contracts, however, Slovakia needs this gas and, if necessary, we should pay in roubles.
Despite the fact that the winter heating season in Slovakia is coming to an end, Slovak industry also needs gas on a large scale. “The gas must not stop. I know that this may be too pragmatic a position for some. If there’s a condition to pay in roubles, then let’s pay in roubles,” said Sulik, pointing out that Slovakia buys up to about 85 percent of its gas consumption from Russia. He is in favour of diversifying supplies but this is a matter of several years.
Head of the extra-parliamentary Voice-SD party Peter Pellegrini believes that the situation regarding energy supply is serious. “In the event that Russia decides not to supply gas to the EU, Slovakia has an extremely serious problem… Slovakia is currently extremely dependent on imports of raw materials from Russia, so it must approach this issue from this point of view in the negotiations,” emphasized the ex-premier.
Pellegrini therefore expects that in EU negotiations, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO) or the economy minister will also defend Slovakia’s national interest and won’t allow such a measure to be taken that will devastate the Slovak economy.
Pointing to reports of massacres of Ukrainian civilians, MP for OLaNO Andrej Stancik objected on Sunday to the words of Economy Minister Richard Sulik (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) that, if necessary, Slovakia should pay for supplies of Russian gas in roubles.
“Richard Sulik’s words were immediately noticed by the Russian media, which spread them as pro-Russian propaganda. I understand that Richard Sulik, as economy minister, is trying to ensure gas supplies but this statement is a schoolboy error and undermines the EU’s common position in these difficult times,” said Stancik.
MP and parliamentary media committee head Kristian Cekovsky (OLaNO) sees this in a similar way. He called on government officials to pay attention to their statements.