Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government, the Central Bank and Gazprom to prepare a report by March 31 on changing the currency of payments for gas supplies to the so-called unfriendly countries into rubles, Ekho Kavkaza writes.
This is reported on the website of the Kremlin. The order says that the government, Bank of Russia and Gazprom should "implement a package of measures" to change the currency of gas payments and report to Putin on its implementation every month. By March 31, the government must approve the directive to amend the existing contracts between Gazprom and consumers.
Putin announced last week that European countries, which have imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, would have to switch to rubles for gas payments. The measure is meant to support the ruble at a time when much of the central bank's assets have been frozen.
Western countries, however, have not shown their willingness to switch to rubles in payments for Russian gas. French President Emmanuel Macron, in particular, said that this is not stipulated by the current contracts, where the currency of payment is euros or dollars. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša spoke even more harshly, saying that Europe does not know what rubles look like. Representatives of consumer companies, in particular Italian Eni, also say it is impossible to pay in rubles.
German Vice Chancellor Habek said the G7 countries will not pay Russia for gas in rubles, Bloomberg reported.
According to Habeck, ministers from all G7 countries agreed that changing the currency of payment would be a violation of contracts and demanded that their companies not pay in rubles.
Kiev also will not agree to receive transit payments in rubles if Moscow sets such a condition, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said.
"We will not switch to rubles. It is impossible. It is complicated. It's not a bilateral arrangement. First we need the Europeans to pay in rubles. It's all connected. It's impossible to pay in rubles here and to pay and receive euros and dollars here," Galushchenko said.
At the moment, according to Gazprom, it is supplying gas to the EU in full, in accordance with consumer requests, including through the territory of Ukraine.