Putin’s Roubles for Gas demand is blackmail – Germany, France
Post created on 11:08 am
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that all EU purchases of Russian gas must be made in roubles starting April 1, a demand immediately rejected by French and German officials who said they were preparing for a possible halt in Russian supplies. Europe will not be “blackmailed” by Putin, Germany’s economy minister said.
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned “unfriendly” countries, including all EU members, that they would be cut off from Russian gas unless they opened an account in roubles to pay for deliveries.
“They must open rouble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting tomorrow, April 1,” Putin said during a televised government meeting.
“If such payments are not made, we will consider this a breach of obligations on the part of our buyers with all the ensuing consequences,” Putin said.
According to the decree, all payments would be handled by Russia’s Gazprombank, a subsidiary of state energy giant Gazprom. Buyers will transfer payments into a Gazprombank account in foreign currency, which the bank will then convert into rubles and transfer into the buyer’s ruble account.
In response, Germany and France have rejected Vladimir Putin’s demand as an unacceptable breach of contract, adding that the manoeuver amounts to “blackmail”.
Germany Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that Germany was prepared for all scenarios, including a stoppage of Russian gas flows to Europe. “It is important for us not to give a signal that we will be blackmailed by Putin.”
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that both nations rejected Russia’s demand. Le Maire said both nations were “preparing” for the possibility “there is no longer any Russian gas”.
While the United States banned the import of Russian oil and gas, the European Union – which received around 40 percent of its gas supplies from Russia in 2021 – has retained deliveries from Moscow.