Macron delivers ruble gas payments decision to Putin
Russia prefers that "unfriendly" countries pay their gas bills in rubles.
French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the West will not accept to pay gas bills in rubles, according to Reuters, adding that it was hard for Western clients to pay for gas in Russian currency.
“France is against paying in rubles,” the official said, as quoted by the media.
The Kremlin stated that Moscow's proposal on ruble payments had been considered in its readout of the two leaders' discussion, but it did not disclose details on both sides' stances.
The EU and the G7 had earlier rejected that plan on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated on Tuesday that Russia will not provide free natural gas to the European market because euros and dollars would no longer be accepted after March 31.
The Russian list of "unfriendly states," which initially contained only two countries – the United States and the Czech Republic – was dramatically expanded in March in response to the West's extraordinary economic sanctions against Moscow. It now includes all EU countries, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and others — nations who have criticized Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
All of those countries are now subject to different retaliatory measures, limitations, and specific requirements from Russia, including the conversion of gas payments to rubles. Another punitive measure saw the Finance Ministry insist that Russian enterprises seeking to collaborate with firms from the list first obtain government approval.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that people of "unfriendly states" would soon face visa restrictions preventing them from entering the country.