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Under the scheme, buyers are obliged to deposit euros or dollars into an account at Russia’s Gazprombank, which has to convert them into rubles and transfer the payment to Russian gas giant Gazprom. In March Putin demanded that European consumers pay for gas in rubles in violation of gas supply contracts. Eventually the European Union refused to pay in rubles, and the Kremlin came up with the Gazprombank scheme. Tim McPhee, a spokesman for the European Commission, said on May 12 that the Gazprombank scheme would breach EU sanctions because it involves Russia’s central bank, which has been sanctioned by the European Union.