Russia insists on ruble payments for gas after G7 outcry

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on March 23, 2022. – President Putin said on March 23 Russia will only accept payments in rubles for gas deliveries to “unfriendly countries”, which include all EU members, after Moscow was hit by unprecedented sanctions over Ukraine. (Photo by Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)


MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) –Russia reiterated Tuesday that it will only be accepting payment for gas deliveries to the EU in rubles after G7 ministers called this arrangement “unacceptable”.

“Nobody will supply gas for free. This is just impossible. And it can only be paid for in rubles,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Companies must understand the completely changed environment that has arisen in the conditions of the economic war waged against Russia,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow will now only accept rubles as payment for natural gas deliveries to “unfriendly” countries, which include the European Union.

Western countries have piled crippling sanctions on Moscow since it moved troops into Ukraine, with the United States banning the import of Russia oil and gas among other measures.

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 21, 2021 shows a view of the Gascade Gas Receiving station adjoining the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Inspection Gauge (PIG) receiving station in Lubmin, northeastern Germany. – Germany said on March 25, 2022 it was drastically slashing its energy purchases from Russia amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with oil imports to be halved by June and coal deliveries to end by the autumn. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

However, the European Union — which received around 40 percent of its gas supplies from Russia in 2021 — has retained deliveries from Moscow.

Speaking on behalf of the G7 energy ministers, Germany’s Robert Habeck said Monday that Russia’s request was a “unilateral and clear breach of the existing agreements”.

He said payments in rubles were “unacceptable” and called on energy companies not to comply with Putin’s demand.

A photo shows the logo of German second division Bundesliga football club FC Schalke 04’s main sponsor Russian gas company Gazprom at the Veltins-Arena stadium in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany, on February 25, 2022. – German football club Schalke 04 said on February 24, 2022 it would remove Russian gas company Gazprom as its main shirt sponsor following the invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)


On Thursday, the Russian government, its central bank and energy giant Gazprom are expected to present Putin with a system that will allow gas payment to be conducted in rubles.

“There is nothing better than Russian gas, all the other options are worse. That is the reality,” Peskov said.

© Agence France-Presse

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