The Group of Seven major economies agreed to reject Russian demand to pay for natural gas exports in rubles, the German energy minister affirmed on Monday.
Robert Habeck told reporters that “all G-7 ministers agreed completely that this (would be) a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts.”
Habeck said that “payment in ruble is not acceptable and we will urge the companies affected not to follow (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s demand.” The minister also stressed that they are prepared for all scenarios.
“Putin’s demand to convert the contracts to ruble (means) he is standing with his back to the wall in that regard, otherwise he wouldn’t have made that demand,” he noted, adding that Russia needs rubles to finance its war at home, such as payments to troops.
Asked by reporters if Moscow could cut natural gas supplies to European customers if they reject the demand to pay in rubles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We clearly aren’t going to supply gas for free.”
“In our situation, it’s hardly possible and feasible to engage in charity for Europe,” Peskov added.
Last week, Putin announced that Russia will demand “unfriendly" countries pay for natural gas only in their currency from now on.