Germany’s energy minister says seven major economic groups have agreed to reject Moscow’s demand for money for Russian natural gas exports in rubles.
BERLIN – A group of seven major economies has agreed to reject Moscow’s demand for funding for Russian natural gas exports in rubles, the German energy minister said on Monday.
Robert Habek told reporters that “all G-7 ministers fully agree that this is (would be) a unilateral and clear violation of existing agreements.” 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 from the European Union were also present.
“Paying in rubles is not acceptable and we will urge the affected companies (Russian President Vladimir) not to follow Putin’s demands,” Habek said.
Putin announced last week that Russia would demand that “non-friendly” countries pay for natural gas in Russian currency only. He instructed the country’s central bank to devise a mechanism for Russian natural gas buyers to receive rubles.
Economists say the move is designed to support the ruble, which has plummeted against other currencies since Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, and the West has responded with far-reaching sanctions against Moscow. However, some analysts doubt that it will work.
Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call that Russia was “not going to provide free gas” if Russia refused to pay European customers in rubles.
“In our situation, it is very unlikely and possible for Europe to do charity work,” Peskov said.
Asked what would happen if Russia shut down the tap now, the German energy minister said: “We are ready for any situation.”
“Putin’s demand for converting agreements into rubles (that is, he is standing against the wall on this issue, otherwise he would not have made that demand,” Habek said. , Such as paying soldiers.