Russia’s ruble payment plan leaves European gas buyers confused
German gas industry group Zukunft Gas said on Wednesday it was confused by the statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin about the switch of payments for Russian natural gas supplies to rubles.
“We took the message that Russia wants [us] to pay for gas supplies only in rubles with great confusion,” Timm Kehler, the director general of Zukunft Gas, told DPA agency. “We can't predict at this moment what specific implications this will have for the gas trade,” Kehler said.
Meanwhile, Austrian OMV said it was going to continue to pay for Russian gas in euros. According to the head of the company, they have no other contractual basis.
President Putin announced earlier in the day that Russia will now accept payment for gas exports to “unfriendly countries” in rubles only.
The measure is the first serious response from Moscow to sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its allies over the conflict in Ukraine. A number of mostly Western countries have taken steps to isolate Russia from their financial systems. Major Russian banks have been cut off from the SWIFT payment network, making it difficult for the country to continue transactions in euros and US dollars.
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