Russian President Vladimir Putin held telephone conversations with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during which he informed him on the merits of the decision to switch to paying for gas in rubles. This is stated on March 30 in a message on the Kremlin website.
“The change in the procedure for settlements is introduced due to the fact that, in violation of international law, the foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Russia were frozen by EU member countries,” the report says.
According to the Russian side, the decision taken should not lead to a deterioration in the contract terms for European companies that buy Russian gas. Putin and Scholz agreed that experts from the two countries would discuss this issue.
The parties also discussed the Russian-Ukrainian talks that took place the day before in Istanbul.
Earlier Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the transition to the ruble in payment for energy supplies is an adaptation to the unprecedented pressure from Western countries, and not a violation of contracts. As Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabkov noted, Russia, which has always been a reliable partner, intends to continue deliveries of gas and oil to Europe, but the interests of the Russian Federation must be taken into account.
Also on March 30, Vice-Chancellor, Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection of Germany Robert Habek announced that Berlin is preparing for a possible cessation of Russian gas supplies. He recalled that Germany would not pay for Russian fuel in rubles, and the G7 countries made the same decision.
The EU and G7 countries refused to pay for Russian gas in rubles. On March 24, Scholz recalled that gas supply contracts provide for payment in dollars or euros.
On March 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would switch to paying for gas supplies to unfriendly countries in rubles. He stressed that fuel supplies will continue in accordance with the volumes and prices fixed in the contracts concluded earlier.
A number of Western countries have imposed anti-Russian sanctions and announced a ban on the import of Russian energy resources after Putin announced on February 24 the start of an operation to protect the civilian population in the Donbass. So, on March 8, the United States banned all oil imports from Russia. At the same time, the owner of the White House admitted that the consequences of such sanctions will also hit Washington: gasoline prices, which have reached historically high levels, will continue to grow. A few days later, Canada took similar measures, banning the import of certain petroleum products.
In February, the situation in Donbass escalated due to shelling by the Ukrainian military. The authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of residents to Russian territory, and also turned to Moscow for help. On February 21, Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of the DNR and LNR.