All G7 countries, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, would agree with the decision, according to Habeck. He called Russia’s demand a “unilateral breach of contract” and believes that all companies, including Russia’s Gazprom, should respect the existing contracts and “not conform to Putin’s demand.” It sounds ridiculous, but who knows.
The Kremlin is also holding its ground. Spokesman Dimitry Peskov said the Russian government “will not provide free gas.” Peskov: ‘in our situation, it is not responsible to do charity.”In addition, he said that in due course Russia will make a decision if European countries continue to refuse to pay in rubles.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that “unfriendly” countries, including all EU countries, should no longer pay in euros but in rubles for Russian gas. With the demand, he wants to force European countries to buy large amounts of rubles, which will increase the value of that currency.
G7 leaders ask Gazprom to go against the authorities
The sanctions imposed by Western countries because of the war in Ukraine can thus be partially nullified. An increase in the value of the ruble could have a positive impact on the severely affected Russian economy.
The Russian demand does cause headaches among EU leaders because their countries and industries are heavily dependent on gas from Russia: around 40 percent of the gas used by Europe comes from the country. While the G7 has now taken a decision, the EU leaders could not yet reach an agreement on the issue on Friday. It is still unclear whether the G7 decision will affect the position of the entire EU.
This Thursday, Russia, in consultation with Gazprom, among others, will take a final decision on their gas supply to Europe. A supply stoppage would also have major consequences for Russia because it will cost a good part of their national income. For the time being, the Russian gas companies are still supplying in accordance with the agreements.
European countries, meanwhile, are trying to become less dependent on Russian gas. By extracting gas elsewhere and accelerating the energy transition, the EU wants to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of this year. In 2027, there should be a complete stop on the import of Russian gas and oil.