Germany’s Scholz dismisses Putin’s ruble-for-gas demand – POLITICO

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday dismissed Russia’s demand that the EU and US pay for Russian gas in rubles, arguing that most existing gas purchase agreements require payment in euros or US dollars.

Russian President Vladimir Putin took that step on Wednesday, challenging Western efforts to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine by announcing that so-called “unfriendly” countries — a list that includes EU countries and the United States — are being banned – have to buy Russian gas imports in rubles. The move was seen as an attempt to shore up Russia’s falling currency and potentially dodge Western penalties.

But at a press conference after a summit meeting of the advanced G7 countries in Brussels, Scholz rejected Putin’s request.

“We looked at it to get an overview. What we’ve learned so far is that there are fixed contracts everywhere that contain the currency in which payments are made,” Scholz told reporters. “And it usually says euros or dollars … and that’s what matters.”

Germany has been particularly criticized for rejecting calls for an immediate embargo on Russian gas, oil and coal imports, arguing the ban would have more serious repercussions on German and EU economies than on Russia’s leadership.

Scholz also said the G7 – a club made up of the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK currently run by Germany under a rotating presidency system – is in a repeat Joint Statement his call for Russia to cease all hostilities immediately. The group also agreed to impose more sanctions if necessary, but declined to offer any new measures on Thursday.

“We agree to maintain sanctions for as long as necessary and to monitor their effectiveness,” said Scholz. “We will respond with further sanctions if necessary,” he added, without specifying what the trigger for additional penalties might be. Germany's Scholz dismisses Putin's ruble-for-gas demand - POLITICO

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