Putin: EU gas buyers need ruble accounts from April
As Western countries have recently imposed hysteric sanctions on Russia, Putin responds by stating that "unfriendly countries" will be required to pay for gas deliveries beginning in Rubles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated, on Thursday, that "unfriendly" countries, including all EU members, will be required to open ruble accounts in order to pay for gas deliveries beginning in April.
Western countries have recently imposed hysteric sanctions on Russia, including the freezing of its foreign currency reserves.
While the United States has prohibited the import of Russian oil and gas, the European Union, which received approximately 40% of its gas supplies from Russia in 2021, has continued to receive deliveries from Moscow.
"They must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting tomorrow, April 1," Putin said during a televised government meeting.
He announced the signing of a decree outlining the "clear and transparent" process.
"If such payments are not made, we will consider this a breach of obligations on the part of our buyers with all the ensuing consequences," Putin said.
"Nobody sells us anything for free and we are not going to do charity work. That means existing contracts being stopped" if payments are not made, he added.
All payments, according to the decree, will be handled by Russia's Gazprombank, a subsidiary of state energy giant Gazprom.
Buyers will deposit funds in foreign currency into a Gazprombank account, which the bank will then convert into rubles and deposit into the buyer's ruble account.
Scholz refuses to pay in Rubles
In response to Putin’s demands, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated, on Thursday, that western countries would continue paying for Russian gas in euros or dollars.
"We looked at the contracts for the gas deliveries," Scholz told reporters in Berlin.
"They say that payments are made in euros, sometimes in dollars... and I made clear in my conversation with the Russian president that that will remain the case," in reference to a telephone call with the Russian President on Wednesday.