(Berlin) Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday that Europe may continue to pay for Russian gas in euros, and not in rubles as Moscow recently ordered, the German government said.
Posted yesterday at 3:02pm.
German government spokesman Stephen Hebestreet said Putin assured Schultz that payments from Europe next month “will remain in euros and will be transferred as usual to Gazprom, which is not” subject to sanctions “and that it will take care of the conversion into rubles.
Hebstreet added that President Putin stressed that “nothing will change for the European contracting partners” when the new payment system demanded by Moscow comes into effect on 1Verse April.
Hepstreet stressed that “Counsellor Schultz did not agree with this procedure, but requested written information for a better understanding.”
He stressed that “what the Group of Seven agreed upon remains: energy shipments will be paid exclusively in euros or dollars, as indicated in the contracts.”
The Kremlin had earlier released its own version of the conversation, saying that Putin told Schulz that Moscow’s demand for Europe to switch to paying for gas in rubles should not “degrade the contractual terms of European import companies.”
The Russian president announced last week that Moscow would only accept the ruble as payment for the delivery of natural gas to “unfriendly” countries, including members of the European Union.
Germany on Wednesday raised the alert level in its emergency plan for gas, fearing that Russia would cut off supplies if Western countries refused to pay in rubles.
Speaking on behalf of G7 energy ministers, German Robert Habeck said on Monday that the Russian request constituted a “unilateral and clear violation of existing agreements”.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Russia would not immediately require natural gas buyers to pay rubles anytime soon.
“Payments and delivery is a time-consuming process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
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