Germany rejects Russian demand for gas payment in rubles

AFP - [email protected] • 28 Mar, 2022 Updated Mon 28 Mar 2022 16:08 CEST
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Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) attends a meeting of the G7 energy ministers on Monday, March 28th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

Paying for Russian gas in rubles would be unacceptable, G7 countries reiterated on Monday, with German Economy Minister Robert Habeck saying the demand showed President Vladimir Putin's back was "against the wall".


"All G7 (energy) ministers agreed that this is a unilateral and clear breach of the existing agreements," said Habeck. 

"Payment in rubles is not acceptable and... we call on the companies concerned not to comply with Putin's demand."

Putin announced last week that Russia would only accept payments in rubles for natural gas deliveries to "unfriendly countries", which includes all of the European Union.

The move comes as Moscow struggles to prop up its economy in the face of debilitating sanctions imposed by the West over his invasion of Ukraine.

"I think we must interpret this demand as Putin having his back against the wall," Habeck told reporters following a virtual meeting with his G7 counterparts.

The club consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, with Germany currently holding the presidency.

READ ALSO: Germany reeling as Putin tells Europe to pay for gas in rubles

French President Emmanuel Macron had already rejected Putin's gas-for-rubles demand on Friday.

The Russian move "is not in line with what was signed, and I do not see why we would apply it," Macron said.

Like other European countries, Germany is racing to reduce its heavy reliance on Russian energy imports in the wake of the Ukraine war.


Germany has to wean itself off Russian oil, gas and coal "in order not to strengthen the regime", Habeck said, and because Moscow has revealed itself to be "an unreliable supplier".

Berlin was quick to pull the plug on the massive Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia in protest at Putin's aggression.

But the German government has so far resisted calls to boycott Russian oil and gas, saying doing so could plunge Europe's biggest economy into chaos.

READ ALSO: ‘Whatever it takes’: Calls grow for painful German blockade of Russian gas



AFP 2022/03/28 16:08

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