Russia: Gas payments must be made through Russian bank accounts | News | DW

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday asked foreign countries to open accounts at Gazprombank to pay for Russian gas.

He said he would suspend gas supply contracts if “unfriendly” countries did not comply with the order.

Putin said the decision would come into effect on April 1.

Putin initially insisted that foreign countries pay for gas in rubles – a move seen as a bid to save Russia’s economy, which has been hit by Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Germany and other Western countries had strongly rejected the demand to pay for Russian gas in rubles, saying it was a breach of contracts with Russia.

Kremlin: “In fact, there is no change”

According to a decree signed by Putin, foreign countries and companies must pay for Russian gas through Gazprombank accounts.

The buyers must transfer foreign currency to a special account, called “K”, and Gazprombank would then buy rubles on behalf of the buyers to transfer payments in Russian currency to another special account “K”.

“De facto, for those who receive Russian gas, who pay for deliveries, there is actually no change. They just acquire rubles for the amount of currency that is stipulated in the gas contract,” said Thursday at Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press. .

“Russia remains committed to all its obligations under existing contracts, both in quantity and price,” he said, adding that Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had discussed the system in detail a day earlier. .

Germany said on Wednesday that Putin had assured Scholz that payments could still be made in euros.

Germany says it will pay in euros

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said payments for Russian gas are made according to existing contracts. “It’s like this, it’s going to stay like this, and I made that clear yesterday during my conversation with President Putin,” he said on Twitter.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Berlin would now consider technical details related to Moscow’s latest decree, reiterating that Germany would continue to pay in euros.

Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister, said it is “crucial for us that contracts are honored”.

“It is important for us not to give a signal that we will be blackmailed by Putin,” Habeck said.

fb/nm (Reuters, EFE, dpa)

Shawanda H. Saldana