On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree outlining new conditions for natural gas trading with “hostile” countries and areas, threatening to cancel current contracts if the buyers refuse to pay in roubles.
“Today, I signed a regulation requiring them to create rouble accounts in Russian banks in order to purchase Russian natural gas. Starting April 1, these accounts will be used to pay for the gas supplies “Putin stated at a meeting of the government.
“If such payments are not made, we shall consider the buyers to have defaulted and will hold them accountable for all consequences. No one gives us anything for free, and we have no intention of doing charity “he stated
According to Putin, Western countries use the financial system as a weapon, and their businesses refuse to execute contracts with Russian enterprises and individuals.
It makes no sense to utilise Western currencies while Russian assets are blocked in US dollars and euros, he said.
The conversion of Russian gas payments to roubles was described by Putin as “an important step toward strengthening our financial and economic autonomy.”
The president stated that Russia will continue to progress in this direction and expand the share of foreign trade settlements in roubles and currencies of trusted partners.
Putin warned last week at a government meeting that Russia will refuse to accept US dollars or euros in exchange for natural gas provided to “unfriendly” countries and areas, including EU members and the United States.
He claims that Western countries have taken “illegitimate choices” to freeze Russian assets, putting their currencies at risk.
Russia’s new gas trade rules have sparked outrage in some EU members.