Forced payments for Russian gas in rubles without Gazprom closing the pipeline – Europe – International

The presidential decree require buyers of Russian gas to pay for supplies in rubles to take effect this Friday while Russian gas giant Gazprom informed its clients of the new mechanism but without closing its pipeline.

(Also read: Ukraine’s First Attack on Russian Territory Destroys Oil Reserves)

“Gazprom unquestionably and fully complies with the requirements of Russian law. Today we have officially sent a notification about the new ruble payment mechanism to the partner,” the company said in a statement, ensuring that it remains a reliable partner and “continues to export gas to consumers.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov stated that this measure, approved the day before by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been approved. “the preferred and safest variant in its current state”after the West froze some of Russia’s foreign currency and gold reserves due to military attacks in Ukraine.

(You may be interested: Lavrov announces “progress” in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine)

Of course, he did not rule out the payment mechanism could be different “if conditions change”. “There’s nothing irreversible about that,” he said. This action was directed against countries described by Russia as “unfriendly”, the long list that includes the US, Canada, the UK and Ukraine, among others, does not forget all the countries of the European Union, many of which are not only regular buyers of Russian gas, but also heavily depend on this supply.

Peskov sent a reassuring message by pointing out that the enactment of the decree does not mean an immediate cessation of gas if it is not paid in rubles, because “payments for current supplies are not made now, but in mid-April. or even in early May. And it’s up to Gazprom, he explained, to work with buyers to perfect the payment mechanism, which Putin said would allow the West to deposit euros and dollars in Gazprombank, not included in Western sanctions, which would be converted into rubles that the Russian gas giant would collect.

Acceptable terms

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov described as “acceptable” the terms proposed by Moscow for gas sales, noting that the West paid Russia in foreign currency “and then froze our accounts”.

Although Putin convinced the day before Russia offers “hostile countries” that they should buy gas exclusively in rubles “clear and transparent mechanism”, which does not convince the importer.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose country is one of the main buyers of Russian gas, which represents 55% of its consumption, reiterated the day before that Berlin would continue to pay for this fuel in euros and that he was not willing to change it. form of payment. .

However, he ruled out imposing an energy embargo on Russia because of Germany’s dependence on gas from Moscow, especially when there are no conditions to supply this supply, a position supported by his Austrian counterpart, Karl Nehammer.

Russian gas is critical to Europe, which imports 155 billion cubic meters of gas by 202140% of total consumption.


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