UPDATE 1-UK allows payments to Gazprombank for EU gas imports

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A document issued by the British Treasury showed, on Friday, that Britain will allow payments from Gazprombank and its subsidiaries in exchange for gas to European Union countries until the end of May.

Britain imposed sanctions on Gazprombank last month, giving counterparties until April 23 to settle their deals with the lender, which is one of the main payment channels for Russian oil and gas.

However, under a new license published late on Thursday, Britain’s Treasury said payments to Gazprombank for gas available in the EU under contracts concluded before April 21 could run until May 31.

Russian gas makes up about 40% of EU imports. Brussels has not formally discussed ending Russian gas imports as part of its actions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict, given the bloc’s dependence on it.

“It looks like a backsliding on the part of the British government,” said Anna Stanek, energy lawyer at EA Law.

The British Treasury did not respond to requests for comment. The Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry also did not respond to requests for comment.

A week after the UK imposed sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed that from April shipments of Russian gas should be paid in rubles and settled at Gazprombank, where payments in euros or dollars will be converted into Russian currency. (Reporting by William James; Editing in Spanish by Jose Muñoz and Benjamin Michias Valencia)

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