Putin issues fresh threat to cut EU gas in days as Russia sets ruble deadline

Ukraine: 'Nothing will stop Putin' says Volkivskyi

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The Russian President is in a furious energy bust-up with the EU amid the Ukraine war, demanding that “unfriendly” countries pay for gas in rubles. But after displaying this response to Western sanctions, EU and US negotiators failed to agree on how to react. Now, Russia has warned that it will not provide gas to Europe while it scrambles to come up with a solution to its demand.

This could be worrying for the EU, which relies on Russia for 40 percent of its gas imports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call: “We are not going to supply gas for free, this is clear.

“In our situation, this is hardly possible and appropriate to engage in charity (with European customers).”

Mr Peskov also warned that Russia is set to take action if the West refuse to pay for its gas in Russian currency.

But G7 leaders have so far been adamant to pay in rubles.

The Russian President is in a furious energy bust-up with the EU amid the Ukraine war, demanding that “unfriendly” countries pay for gas in rubles.

But after displaying this response to Western sanctions, EU and US negotiators failed to agree on how to react.

Now, Russia has warned that it will not provide gas to Europe while it scrambles to come up with a solution to its demand.

Robert Habeck, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor, told reporters that “all G-7 ministers agreed completely that this (would be) a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts”.

It came after officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, and the UK and Canada met on Friday to discuss the demands.

Mr Habeck added that the negotiators agreed that “payment in rubles is unacceptable, and we call on the companies concerned not to comply with Putin’s demand”.

But Putin’s Government, the Russian central bank, state-owned energy giant Gazprom, have made clear that the “unfriendly” countries must put forward their proposals for ruble payments by March 31.

But Putin did announce earlier this week that it would honour current contracts.

He said: “Russia will continue, of course, to supply natural gas in accordance with volumes and prices … fixed in previously concluded contracts.

“The changes will only affect the currency of payment, which will be changed to Russian rubles.

“An understandable and transparent procedure of making payments should be created for (all foreign buyers), including acquiring Russian rubles on our domestic currency market.”

According to Gazprom, 58 percent of its sales of natural gas to Europe and other countries as of January 27 were settled in euros.

This also comes after the EU has been drafting up ways to swerve the impacts of a Russian gas cut.

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As part of the bloc’s new energy strategy, it is seeking to diversify its gas sources by turning to alternative producers, like the US.

Now, President Joe Biden has pledged to send 15 billion gas units to Europe.

This will likely help the EU meet its target of slashing Russia’s oil and

The 15 billion cubic metres (bcm) of liquified natural gas (LNG) will reportedly be sent to EU markets this year.

In a joint conference with Mr Biden, European Commission President Ursual von der Leyen said: “We aim to reduce this dependency on Russian fossil fuels and get rid of it. This can only be achieved through…additional gas supplies, including LNG deliveries.

“We as Europeans want to diversify away from Russia towards suppliers that we trust, that are our friends, that are reliable.

“Therefore, the US commitment to provide the European Union with additional at least 15 billion cubic metres of LNG this year is a big step in this direction because this will replace the LNG supply we currently receive from Russia.”

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