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July 11 (Reuters) - Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, in a newspaper interview published on Monday, strongly endorsed a proposal by gas producer Gazprom to expand its roubles-for-gas scheme for pipeline gas to include liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Asked for his view on the Gazprom proposal, the Vedomosti daily quoted Siluanov as saying, “We support (it) in every way.”
Interfax news agency quoted a senior Gazprom manager a week ago as saying the gas producer was proposing to expand the scheme to include LNG. The next day, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters no decisions had been taken nor orders prepared on such a move.
In March, President Vladimir Putin said “unfriendly countries” would have to pay for Russian gas in roubles. A number of Gazprom’s biggest clients in Europe were cut off after refusing to cooperate with the roubles-for-gas payment scheme. (Reporting by Elaine Monaghan; Editing by Sandra Maler)