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Russia is about to ask “unfriendly” countries to buy gas in rubles

According to AP News, many European countries have simultaneously voiced their objections to the President’s statement Russia Vladimir Putin on asking countries “unfriendly” to Moscow to pay for gas in rubles instead of euros.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said: “I don’t think anyone in Europe really knows what the ruble looks like. No one will pay in rubles.”

Meanwhile, many other EU heads have expressed similar views about Russia’s threat – from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Earlier this week, Russian President Putin announced that Russia would soon ask “unfriendly” countries to pay for gas in rubles due to repeated Western sanctions and Russian asset freezes. Mr. Putin said that the move by the West has damaged confidence in their currencies.

After President Putin’s announcement, the ruble rose sharply again after falling sharply due to a series of Western sanctions.

However, some European leaders argue that Russia’s change to the form of payment will fundamentally change existing contracts and render them void.

Accordingly, German Chancellor Scholz said that the currency used in the payment “is also part of the fixed contract”. And Italian Prime Minister Draghi simply said that if Putin carried out the plan, “we would consider it a violation of existing contracts”.

In the context of the current dizzying increase in gas prices, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo even saw an “opportunity”, although not what Moscow wanted.

“In any case, if an element of the contract is changed, we can renegotiate a whole range of issues – including price,” Mr. De Croo said.

The EU imports 90% of the natural gas used to generate electricity, heat homes and supply industry, with Russia providing almost 40% of the gas imports for the bloc.

In a related development, on March 25, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that President Putin had instructed energy group Gazprom to “accept payments in rubles” when reporters asked whether Russia could continue to supply gas to the EU or not, if European countries refuse to pay in rubles.

According to Peskov, Gazprom should finalize the new payment system in the next few days. The Kremlin spokesman also added that President Putin’s directive does not apply to independent gas producer Novatek, as it is a private company.

US President Joe Biden today (March 25) reached a landmark agreement on energy supply to the European Union (EU). Under the deal, the United States will increase transatlantic gas shipments, in the hope of weakening Russia’s overwhelming power in the energy market. >> Read the full article here.


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