The G7 countries will not agree to buy Russian natural gas in rubles. This was stated by Vice Chancellor, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection of Germany Robert Habeck. The G7 includes the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Italy and Canada, all of which were previously included in the list of unfriendly Russian states in connection with the sanctions imposed by them due to the military operation in Ukraine.
Ministers in all G7 countries agreed that a revision of the payment currency would be a breach of existing contracts, and demanded that their companies not pay in rubles, Habek said. “Payments in rubles are unacceptable, and we will urge the affected companies not to comply with the requirement [президента России Владимира] Putin, “he said (quoted by the Associated Press).
The Vice Chancellor added that Germany is ready for all scenarios of stopping gas imports from Russia, including the suspension of supplies from Moscow unilaterally. According to him, this issue was touched upon at the meeting of G7 economy ministers on Monday, and was also discussed in detail at the previous meeting, when the ministers also exchanged views on the imposition of an embargo on Russian gas. He also stressed Germany’s desire to gradually reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government, the Central Bank and Gazprom to transfer payments for gas supplies to unfriendly countries from euros and dollars to rubles by March 31. He explained the decision by plans to abandon “compromised” currencies. It is assumed that the volume of supplies, prices and pricing principles will be maintained at the level specified in the concluded contracts. A number of countries opposed the transition to ruble payments for gas. In particular, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen saw this as an attempt to circumvent the sanctions.
The decision of the Russian head of state was a response to unilateral sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia. 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. The sanctions also affected a number of sectors of the economy, including the lack of the ability to supply Russia with high technology, luxury items and so on.
The Kremlin has stated that if European countries refuse to comply with this requirement, Russia will not supply gas free of charge. This was announced on March 28 by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “It is clear that we will not supply gas for free. This can be said with absolute confidence. Still, in our situation, engaging in pan-European charity is hardly possible and hardly expedient, “Peskov said.