Kremlin: Enemy countries may continue to pay for gas in foreign currency

“Enemy countries” can continue to pay for Russian natural gas in foreign currency through a Russian bank that will convert money into rubles, according to a Kremlin decree issued today.

The decree, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was announced by the Russian state agency RIA Novosti, a day after the leaders of Germany and Italy, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi, said that the Russian leader had assured them that gas could still be paid for in foreign currencies. .

Putin took a firmer stance today, saying that Russia would start accepting payments in rubles from Western countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow due to the attack on Ukraine.

He said that the contracts will be suspended if the buyers do not accept the new conditions, among which is the request to open an account in rubles in Russian banks.

“If those payments are not realized, we will consider it a non-fulfillment of the buyer’s obligations, with all the consequences that arise from that,” Putin stated.

The decree states that the bank will open two accounts for each customer, one in foreign currency and one in rubles.

Buyers will pay for gas in foreign currency and authorize the bank to convert that currency into rubles. The laundry will be on another account, from which the gas will be officially bought.

Shortly after the decree was issued, German Chancellor Scholz responded to Russia’s new conditions, saying gas contracts provided for payments mostly in euros and sometimes in dollars.

He stated that in yesterday’s telephone conversation, he “made it clear to Putin that this will remain the case”.

“We will carefully consider his (Putin’s) ideas on how this can be done. But in any case, what applies to companies is that they will be able to pay in euros,” Scholz told reporters in Berlin.

Earlier today, Italian Prime Minister Draghi said that he had also received assurances from Putin that Europe would not have to pay for Russian gas in rubles, thus reducing fears that Moscow would suspend supplies of gas, necessary for heating and electricity.

Dragi said that Putin assured him during last night’s 40-minute telephone conversation that “existing agreements remain in force” and that “European companies will continue to pay for gas in dollars and euros.”

By Editor

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