Russian state-owned Transneft, the largest operator of Russia’s pipelines, said on Tuesday that oil supplies through the Druzhba pipeline had been interrupted last week. Because of European sanctions on Moscow, payment of the transit fee would not have reached UkrTransNafta, the Ukrainian company that operates the Druzhba, an oil pipeline that passes through Ukraine and supplies fuel to HungarySlovakia and the Czech Republic.
According to Transneft, the transit fee was paid to UkrTransNafta, but the money came back, because European banks, due to European sanctions on Russia, are not allowed to make their own decisions about international payments from Russia and need approval from the national regulators to finalize transactions.
The Russian state-owned company said it was trying to find ways to transfer the funds to the Ukrainian operator of the Druzhba pipeline. Also according to Transneft, the flow of the pipeline on the northern link, which supplies Belarus, Poland and Germany, was not affected by the interruption.
Russia already reduced considerably the shipment of gas to the Germany. With the claim that it cannot receive a turbine (sent to Canada for repairs) from Nord Stream 1, it has reduced the gas supply to 20%.
European countries accuse Russia of using electricity as a weapon to fight back against sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter and main gas exporter, and Europe is substantially dependent on Russian oil, diesel, natural gas and coal. Energy prices have soared this year due to supply shortages as Europe struggles to replace Russian energy with alternative supplies.