Russia’s president Putin signed a decree that gas and gas products must be paid in rubles from today Friday the 1st of April.
Putin put pressure on foreign gas customers to open ruble accounts with a Russian bank from Friday emphasising gas payments must be paid in rubles otherwise contracts would be stopped.
To get the gas, foreign customers would have to open ruble accounts with Russian banks. “If such payments are not made, we consider this a default by the buyers with all the consequences that ensue,” Spiegel wrote quoting the President. “Nobody sells us anything for free, and we won’t do charity either – that is, existing contracts will be stopped.”
Many countries have rejected the demand to pay for gas in rubles hoping that the stale mate could lead to the Russian leader backing down on his demands.
Customers were urged to open K-accounts, which are largely in rubles, under a bank authorised by Putin.
The decree named Gazprombank as the “authorised bank”. the sam one that also handles payments for gas supplies to Germany.
Spiegels wrote that according to the new rules, customers can still pay the bill for their gas deliveries by bank transfer in a foreign currency such as the euro or the dollar but the delivery is not considered fully paid until the foreign currency has been exchanged for rubles in an auction on the Moscow Stock Exchange.
For ‘unfriendly’ countries, this means that they would have to open a ruble account and sell foreign currencies on the Moscow exchange.