Putin threatens to cut gas to ‘unfriendly’ countries unless paid in rubles
(Update 1: Updates with input from German finance minister)
Moscow, Mar 31 (EFE).- Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Thursday threatened to cut gas supplies to ‘unfriendly nations’ that refuse to pay for the fuel in rubles.
He said the policy, which also required countries regarded as ‘unfriendly’ by the Kremlin for their sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to open accounts with Moscow’s energy-linked bank Gazprombank, would come into force on Friday.
“If such payments are not made, we will consider this a failure to honor the commitments by buyers with all the consequences, we don’t get anything free of charge and we are not going to engage in charity either, therefore the contracts will be stopped,” Putin said.
“The situation in which the financial system of the Western countries is weaponized, when companies from those countries refuse to honor their contracts with companies and individuals, when euro accounts are frozen, it makes no sense to use those countries’ currencies,” he added.
German officials on Thursday reiterated their stance that the country would not pay for Russian gas in rubles.
“It’s important for us that we don’t give the signal that we’re going to let Putin blackmail us,” finance minister Robert Habeck said following a meeting with his French counterpart.
“We are well prepared for everything that Putin decides,” he said, adding that Gazprombank was not affected by sanctions, unlike the Russian central bank.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union pledged to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027.EFE