Germany: G7 rejects Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles

BERLIN ( Associated Press) – The Group of Seven major economies has agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay in rubles for Russian natural gas exports.German Energy Minister said on Monday.

Robert Habeck told reporters that “all G-7 ministers fully agree that this (will) be a unilateral and clear breach of existing contracts.” He said officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada met on Friday to coordinate their positions, and representatives of the European Union were also present.

Habek said that “payment in rubles is not acceptable and we would urge affected companies not to comply with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s demand.”

Putin announced last week that Russia would demand that “unfriendly” countries pay for natural gas only in Russian currency from now on. He directed the country’s central bank to devise a procedure for natural gas buyers to acquire the ruble in Russia.

Economists said the move appeared to be designed to try to support the ruble.Which has collapsed against other currencies since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine On February 24, more Western countries responded with far-reaching sanctions against Moscow. But some analysts expressed skepticism that it would work.

Asked by reporters on Monday whether Russia could cut off natural gas supplies to European customers if they refused to pay in rubles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call that “we are clear We are not going to supply gas for free.”

“In our situation, it is hardly possible and feasible to engage in charity to Europe,” said Peskov.

Asked what would happen if Russia closed the tap now, Germany’s energy minister said, “We are prepared for all scenarios.”

“Putin has demanded (meaning) he stands with his back to the wall in that regard, otherwise he would not have made that demand,” Hebek said. , such as payment to soldiers.

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