G7 rejects Russian demand to pay for gas in rubles

Bloc sees payment switch as breach of current contracts

The Group of Seven major economies have collectively agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay for gas imports from Russia in rubles, according to German Energy Minister Robert Habeck.

“All G7 ministers agreed completely that this [would be] a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts,” Habeck told journalists on Monday.

The minister added that “payment in rubles is not acceptable” and that the nations will urge the companies affected “not to follow” the demand issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

On Monday, Putin ordered the government, the central bank, and Gazprombank to develop the necessary tools to switch all payments for Russian natural gas from “unfriendly states” to rubles from March 31.

READ MORE: Russia’s ruble payment plan leaves European gas buyers confused

This includes countries that have targeted Russia’s financial system and seized its foreign reserves in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia will stop shipping natural gas to countries that reject the demand.

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