Russia reiterated on Tuesday that it would only accept payment for gas supplies to the EU in rubles after G7 ministers called the arrangement “unacceptable”.
“Nobody will provide gas for free. It’s simply impossible. And it can only be paid for in rubles,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“Businesses need to understand the completely changed environment that arose in the conditions of the economic war waged against Russia,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow would now only accept rubles as payment for natural gas deliveries to “hostile” countries, including the European Union.
Western countries have imposed crippling sanctions on Moscow since it moved troops to Ukraine, with the United States banning the import of Russian oil and gas, among other measures.
However, the European Union – which received around 40% of its gas supplies from Russia in 2021 – has retained deliveries from Moscow.
Speaking on behalf of G7 energy ministers, Germany’s Robert Habeck said on Monday Russia’s request was a “unilateral and clear violation of existing agreements”.
He said payments in rubles were “unacceptable” and called on energy companies not to comply with Putin’s demand.
On Thursday, the Russian government, its Central Bank and energy giant Gazprom are expected to present Putin with a system that will allow payment for gas to be made in roubles.
“There is nothing better than Russian gas, all other options are worse. This is the reality,” Peskov said.