Germany and Italy told companies they could open ruble accounts to keep buying Russian gas without breaching sanctions against Moscow following discussions with the European Union, sources said.
Other member states, however, have been unwilling to steer companies towards action that could result in losing vital supplies of Russian gas that heats homes and powers factories.
Some diplomats in Brussels from EU member states said they thought the advice was intentionally vague to enable countries to open ruble accounts and keep buying Russian gas.
“They needed to create a level of creative ambiguity,” a second diplomat said, referring to the Commission’s advice. “The purpose of creative ambiguity is to create just enough room for all the different interpretations.”