Russian Gaz: “We must prepare”, towards an imminent cut in France and Germany?

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday, March 31, that he had signed a decree requiring buyers from “unfriendly” foreign countries to pay in rubles for natural gas deliveries from Friday, and provides for the suspension of current contracts. if they don’t comply. France and Germany prepare for a supply cut.

Gas importing companies will have to open a ruble account in a Russian bank submit to this new condition, said Vladimir Putin this Thursday, March 31, who presented this measure as a form of strengthen “sovereignty” of Russia in the face of Western sanctions, including the freezing of part of the assets of its central bank.

“To buy Russian natural gas, they have to open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments for gas delivered from tomorrow will be made,” the Russian president said in a televised speech.

Non-payment

“If such payments are not made, we will consider this as a defect on the buyers part, with all the consequent consequences. Nobody sells us anything for free, and nor will we do charity – that is, existing contracts will be cancelled,” he said.

According to the decree signed by Vladimir Putin, foreign companies will be able to make payments in foreign currency to the ruble accounts they have opened in Russian banks, which will provide rubles in return to settle their bills.

The member countries of the G7 and those of the European Union, for which about a third of their gas needs are supplied by Russia, have repeatedly said that they will continue to pay for gas in euros or dollars, as provided in their contracts.

France and Germany prepare for a cut

Traveling Thursday to Fouras, in Charente-Maritime, the French President Emmanuel macron He said that he raised this issue again in the morning with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “(Olaf Scholz) and I have spoken with President Putin over the past few days on the issue of payment in rubles for gas, to explain to him that he was in our eyes unacceptableIn any case, it was not compatible with our sanctions and with the contracts”, declared Emmanuel Macron.

“President Putin also confirmed to us that a solution would be found and did not express the intention cut off your gas supply at this stage“, he added, echoing the statements made by the head of the Italian government, Mario Draghi, at the end of a meeting with the Russian president.

On a visit to Berlin, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, for his part, invited Russia to fulfill “totally and completely” the contracts it has signed.

“The contracts provide for a currency in which these contracts are executed, the contracts must be executed in the currency in which they are provided. Contracts are contracts..

There may be a situation where tomorrow, under very specific circumstances, there is no more Russian gas (…) it is up to us to prepare these scenarios, and we are preparing them – Bruno Le Maire

The G7 was very clear”, insisted Bruno Le Maire. If experts doubt Moscow’s interest in cutting off the gas tap, when today it is its main source of income, Vladimir Putin is threatening this Thursday, accusing European countries of ignoring his demands. to be ready for “ignore the interests of their own consumers”.

We must be prepared for all hypotheses“, recognized Bruno Le Maire. “There may be a situation in which tomorrow (…) there would be no more Russian gas so it is up to us to prepare these scenarios.

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