In exchange for rubles, gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin fulfilled his threat by signing a decree on Thursday Starting this April 1 It will only supply gas to countries that pay in rubles. “If no such payments are made, we consider itA default by buyers with all its consequences”, Putin said through a televised speech.
“No one is selling us anything for free and we won’t be doing charity work either, which means existing contracts will be suspended.” Germany, one of the countries most dependent on Russian gas, was the first to react. Robert Habeck, his economy minister, stated shortly thereafter that Berlin would not be manipulated by the Russian president. He also reiterated that gas payments in euros will continue. A meeting was held in Berlin with Bruno Le Maire (Finance Minister), to assure that France and Germany are ready to face any situation in which Russian gas flows are cut off and that Paris and Berlin will be prepared for whatever Putin decides on gas.
Habeck declared on Thursday that he had raised the “early warning” level of his emergency energy plan in light of the possibility for a cut in supply and to strengthen precautions against the Kremlin turning off the tap. The conditions imposed by Putin require that, as of April 1, the countries called “non-friends” by the Russian government on account of the sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine, are obliged to make payments to a special bank account Russian national Gazprombank, which will receive the denomination “K”. If private supply contracts allow for payments in dollars or euros, then the entity will convert the money to rubles and forward it to Gazprom. .
Germany will be able to continue paying for gas deliveries in euros just as before. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, had already confirmed to Interfax that he was working on a payment system under which the money would go to Gazprombank in euros. This bank is not subject to the sanctions. It would then be exchanged for rubles and transferred to Russia.
Putin spoke to Scholz by telephone on Thursday about how the Russian ruble could be used for gas payments. Steffen Hebestreit, a government spokesperson, stated that Putin had promised Scholz that “nothing would change for the European contractual partner”. The Russian president had already declared last week that all unfriendly countries (including Germany) would be required to pay in rubles for future gas deliveries. Putin justification for his decision was that the Bank of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves were “frozen by member states of European Union in violation of norms of international legal law.” However, it is also known the Moscow government may be considering expanding this practice to allow for the export of other raw materials. Vyacheslav Vodin, the leader of Russia’s Parliament, suggested that. Oil and other raw material, like metals and coalAs well as fertilizers or grain, they are also paid in rubles. Volodin stated that European states have all the necessary tools to pay in rubles. “Cooperation must bring benefits to both parties.”