Putin says Russia will switch gas sales to rubles for ‘unfriendly’ countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Novgorod region governor Andrei Nikitin during a meeting of the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on March 22, 2022. Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev / Kremlin via REUTERS

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March 23 (Reuters) – Russia plans to convert its gas sales to “unfriendly” countries into rubles, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday in response to a freeze on Russia’s assets by foreign nations due to events in Ukraine that he said had destroyed Moscow. confidence.

European countries’ dependence on Russian gas and other exports has been thrown into the spotlight since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation to reduce its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and exterminate people it called . dangerous nationalists.

“Russia will, of course, continue to supply natural gas in accordance with quantities and prices … stipulated in previously concluded contracts,” Putin said at a televised meeting with top government ministers.

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“The changes will only affect the payment currency, which will be changed to Russian rubles,” he said.

Putin said the government and central bank had a week to come up with a solution on how to move these operations to the Russian currency, and that gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) would be ordered to make the corresponding changes to gas contracts.

According to Gazprom, 58% of its sales of natural gas to Europe and other countries per January 27 settled in euros. US dollars accounted for about 39% of gross sales and pounds about 3%.

Russian gas accounts for about 40% of Europe’s total gas consumption.

“An understandable and transparent procedure should be created for making payments for (all foreign buyers), including acquiring Russian rubles in our domestic foreign exchange market,” Putin said.

Ukrainian forces have raised fierce opposition to Russia’s actions, and the West has imposed extensive sanctions on Russia in an attempt to force it to withdraw its forces.

Russia has compiled a list of “unfriendly” countries, similar to those that imposed sanctions. Among other things, agreements with companies and individuals from these countries must be approved by a government commission.

The list of countries includes the United States, EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Ukraine.

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Reuters report; Edited by Kirsten Donovan and Alison Williams

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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