“In order to buy Russian gas, countries need to open a ruble trading account at a Russian bank,” Putin told officials, which was broadcast on television on March 31.

According to the decree signed by President Putin, the buyer must open a special account at the state-owned Gazprombank and exchange foreign currency into rubles for gas purchases.

The Russian president added that gas transactions will be made through these accounts from April 1. “If we don’t make transactions (in rubles), we will consider this as a case of the counterparty’s non-compliance with contractual obligations,” Putin said.

Earlier, Italy and Germany said that Putin had ensured European countries could buy Russian gas in euros, according to Bloomberg.

Representatives of the group of major economies (G7) affirmed that being forced to use rubles to pay for gas purchased from Russia was “unacceptable”, and said this was a violation of the contract’s terms.

Also on March 31, TASS quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Moscow is still complying with the contracts signed with partners, and will soon introduce a mechanism for gas payment in rubles.

“There will be no change in the contract signed with the Russian gas purchasing partners. In all cases, the partners buy rubles in the foreign currency specified in the contract. Russia is committed to complying with all requirements. both contractual and existing obligations, including quantity, price …”, Peskov said.

Putin made the statement in the context of the West imposing heavy sanctions on Russia for its “military operation” in Ukraine. But due to its heavy reliance on Russian gas for heating and electricity production, the European Union (EU) has yet to agree on sanctions on the Russian energy industry.

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