Sunday. 19.05.2024

"Unfriendly" countries must make payments for Russian gas in roubles in the future, said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, in a move designed to bolster a national currency pummelled by weeks of sanctions due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia will continue to deliver gas as promised, Putin said in a videoconference aired on state broadcasters, but Russia will no longer accept payments in dollars or euros.

The move will apply to blacklisted "unfriendly" countries - meaning those that have laid sanctions on Russia since its February 24 invasion - like Britain, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States and members of the European Union.

He noted that those countries had made their currencies valueless in Russia by freezing Russian activities abroad.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Western governments responded with a wave of sanctions that blocked Russian access to many of its reserves and prompted many Western companies to pull out of Russia.

However, oil and gas have continued to flow, because many countries have no fuel alternative to supplies from Russia.

Reduce money flows

Ukraine has urged the West to turn off the taps in order to reduce money flowing into Russia to fund the war.

Putin did not mention any change to payments for Russian oil.

The rouble has sagged due to the loss of business, but perked up on Wednesday after Putin's announcement. Putin said the central bank and the government now have a week to update their systems so as to take payments in roubles, instead of foreign currencies.

The Russian government has already decided that its own financial obligations to "unfriendly" states will only be settled in roubles.

This announcement came at the start of the month.

Putin orders 'unfriendly' countries to make gas payments in roubles