Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the country would start selling gas to “hostile countries” in rubles after an asset freeze by foreign nations destroyed confidence in Moscow.
European countries’ dependence on Russian gas and other exports has been put in the spotlight since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation to reduce the neighboring country’s military capabilities. and eradicating the people it named as “dangerous nationalists”.
“Russia will, of course, continue to supply natural gas according to volumes and prices fixed in previously concluded contracts,” Putin said at a televised meeting with top government ministers.
“The changes will only affect the payment currency, which will be changed to Russian rubles.”
Putin said the government and central bank had a week to find a solution on how to transfer these operations into Russian currency, and that gas giant Gazprom would have to make the corresponding changes to the gas contracts.
According to Gazprom, 58% of its natural gas sales to Europe and other countries as of January 27 were settled in euros. US dollars accounted for around 39% of gross sales and sterling around 3%.
Russian gas accounts for around 40% of Europe’s total gas consumption.
“An understandable and transparent procedure for making payments should be created for (all foreign buyers), including purchasing Russian rubles on our domestic foreign exchange market,” Putin said.
Ukrainian forces mounted strong resistance to Russia’s actions and the West imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.
Russia has drawn up a list of “hostile” countries, which correspond to those that have imposed sanctions, including the US, EU member states, the UK, Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Ukraine.
Source: CNN Brasil