Putin signed a decree on the transfer of payment for gas exports in rubles

Vladimir Putin signed a decree “On a special procedure for the fulfillment of obligations by foreign buyers to Russian suppliers of natural gas.” The relevant document is published on the Kremlin’s website and involves the transfer of payments for the purchase of fuel resources in rubles. The new rules for supplying Russian gas to unfriendly countries come into force on April 1.

According to Vedomosti, at a meeting in support of the domestic aviation industry, Putin said that the transfer of gas fees in rubles is a step towards ensuring Russia’s financial sovereignty. The President noted that the current contracts will be terminated if the buyer countries do not meet the new payment terms.

“Today I signed a decree establishing the rules of trade in Russian natural gas with the so-called unfriendly states. We offer counterparties from such countries a clear and transparent scheme: in order to purchase Russian gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks, “Putin said the day before.

As follows from the published text of the decree, the countries-buyers from the list of unfriendly will have to open special currency and ruble accounts in “Gazprombank” and subsequently charge a fee for supplies in foreign currency. Then, on behalf of the buyer, Gazprombank will exchange currency for rubles at auctions held by the Moscow Stock Exchange and credit these funds to the ruble account. After that, the funds will be transferred from the ruble account to the supplier company.

Earlier, Putin instructed to transfer payments for gas supplies for export to unfriendly countries in Russian currency by March 31. In a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin explained that the decision was made due to unilateral sanctions and the freezing of the Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves in the West. Restrictions, among other things, affected about half of Russia’s international reserves – about $ 300 billion of them were virtually frozen. The country’s access to the dollar and the euro has also been limited.

According to Interfax, the G7 countries and the European Commission have stated that they consider Russia’s demand to pay for gas supplies in rubles a clear breach of contract, and called on companies not to comply with it. Concerns have surfaced in Europe about the possible cessation of Russian gas supplies amid a dispute in absentia at the time.

Russia currently exports gas worth almost $ 10 billion a month (total revenue from gas exports in January 2022 amounted to a record $ 9.75 billion). In January, Gazprom exported 7.146 billion cubic meters to a group of “unfriendly” countries. m of gas by $ 5.99 billion, according to estimates by Interfax based on data from the Federal Customs Service. The sample covers Russian gas supplies to 20 countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

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