Putin wants Russia to be paid for its gas in the ruble-March 23, 2022 18:57

(Updated with quotes, details, context)

Nina Chestney

London, March 23 (Reuters)-Russia demands ruble payments for gas supplies to “unfriendly countries”, Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday, fearing worsening supply tensions in Europe Soared gas prices.

The countries of the European Union have been weakened by Russia’s dependence on oil and gas since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, imposing heavy economic and financial sanctions on Moscow without embargoing Russia’s energy resources. I will impose it.

They intend to cut these supplies by two-thirds this year, but do not believe they can “escape” from “fossil dependence on Russia” until 2027. nL5N2VE4UR

Along with the United States and Britain, Europeans have decided to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Russia in particular, thaw their foreign exchange reserves and plunge the ruble. Vladimir Putin’s message is now: Buy a ruble to get our gas.

“Of course, Russia will continue to supply natural gas according to the amount and price set in the previously signed contract,” the Russian president said in a meeting with his main minister on television. rice field.

“The change only affects the payment currency changed to the Russian ruble,” he added.

Russia’s gas accounts for about 40% of Europe’s consumption, and EU gas imports from Russia have fluctuated between € 200 million and € 800 million per day since the beginning of the year. Currency changes in these transactions could seriously disrupt trade, which caused wholesale prices in Europe to rise by up to 30% on Wednesday.

Germany accuses breach of contract

The ruble rose sharply as part of it, falling below 95 per dollar for the first time in three weeks. He later reduced his profits, but was clearly below the $ 100 threshold. The ruble has lost about 20% of its value since February 24, and what Russia offers as a “special military operation” in Ukraine has begun.

Vladimir Putin has given the Russian government and the central bank a week to continue these gas supplies and offer solutions for receiving payments in the ruble. The giant Gazprom GAZP.MM is required to change contracts to adapt to this evolution.

Large banks are currently reluctant to deal with Russian assets, but some European buyers of Russian gas quickly struggled to explain how to pay for their post-relocation purchases.

Germany’s economic minister, Robert Habeck, has accused Moscow of breach of contract signed in the euro, as the country is particularly dependent on Russian gas.

As of January 27, 58% of natural gas sales to Europe and other countries have been settled in euros, according to Gazprom. About 39% of sales were in US dollars and about 3% were in British pounds.

Russia has created a list of “unfriendly” countries that correspond to the countries that have imposed sanctions on it. These include the United States, 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Ukraine.

(Edited by Reuters, written by Nina Chestney, edited by French version of Bertrand Buse, Matthew Protard)