Moscow insists on payment in rouble for gas deliveries

G7 energy Ministers call this arrangement ‘unacceptable’.

March 29, 2022 10:06 pm | Updated 10:06 pm IST - Moscow

Western countries have piled sanctions on Moscow since it moved troops into Ukraine. File

Western countries have piled sanctions on Moscow since it moved troops into Ukraine. File | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Russia reiterated Tuesday that it will only be accepting payment for gas deliveries to the EU in rubles after G7 ministers called this arrangement "unacceptable".

"Nobody will supply gas for free. This is just impossible. And it can only be paid for in rubles," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Companies must understand the completely changed environment that has arisen in the conditions of the economic war waged against Russia," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow will now only accept rubles as payment for natural gas deliveries to "unfriendly" countries, which include the European Union.

Western countries have piled crippling sanctions on Moscow since it moved troops into Ukraine, with the United States banning the import of Russia oil and gas among other measures.

However, the European Union — which received around 40% of its gas supplies from Russia in 2021 — has retained deliveries from Moscow.

Speaking on behalf of the G7 energy ministers, Germany's Robert Habeck said Monday that Russia's request was a "unilateral and clear breach of the existing agreements".

He said payments in rubles were "unacceptable" and called on energy companies not to comply with Mr. Putin's demand.

On Thursday, the Russian government, its central bank and energy giant Gazprom are expected to present Putin with a system that will allow gas payment to be conducted in rubles.

"There is nothing better than Russian gas, all the other options are worse. That is the reality," Mr. Peskov said.

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