Putin says ‘unfriendly’ countries must now pay for Russian natural gas in rubles

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia will insist that “unfriendly countries” pay for Russian natural gas exports only in rubles going forward, according to reports.

Putin told Russian government officials that a number of Western countries made “illegitimate decisions on the so-called freezing of the Russian assets,” which he claims has resulted in a line being crossed “over reliability of their currencies” and has undermined the trust for those currencies, The Associated Press reported

The Kremlin leader added that it “made no sense” to supply Russian goods to the European Union and the United States and receive payment in euros, dollars and a number of other currencies.

However, Russia will continue to supply natural gas in accordance with volumes and prices fixed in previously concluded contracts, Reuters added, citing Putin.

Russia provides about 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas and has previously threatened to withhold the natural gas it supplies to Europe in response to Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia released a list of so-called “unfriendly” countries, which include the U.S., members of the European Union, Britain, Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Ukraine, Reuters said.

Putin’s statement comes weeks after the European Union announced a plan to cut its reliance on Russian natural gas by two-thirds this year, and get off Russian fossil fuels entirely by the end of the decade.

Putin is expected to attend the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday. 

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