EU mulls new sanctions against Russia in response to ruble demand for gas payments

EU mulls new sanctions against Russia in response to ruble demand for gas payments

2022-03-31 15:17:14Source: China News Network

China News Service, March 31 (Reuters) – The European Commission is preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia, the strength of which will depend on Russia’s stance on paying for natural gas in rubles, Reuters reported on the 30th, citing EU sources.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the 23rd local time that Russia now only accepts natural gas exports in rubles to “unfriendly countries” including all EU member states. On the 28th local time, the Group of Seven (G7) rejected Russia’s request to buy natural gas only in rubles.

The report quoted sources as saying that a new package of EU sanctions could be ready as early as next week, and that the executive committee is negotiating a “compliance plan” with EU governments. This will include what European leaders agreed at a summit last week to ensure existing sanctions cannot be bypassed, especially those against blacklisted individuals.

According to the report, 40% of the EU’s natural gas supply currently comes from Russia. The EU could add tougher sanctions to the new package if Russia insists on paying for gas supplies in rubles, the sources said.

On the 28th local time, the Kremlin website released a message saying that Putin asked the government, the central bank and Gazprom to submit a report before the 31st on switching to rubles for the supply of natural gas to “unfriendly countries”.

The EU’s likely response will depend on the timing and details Russia sets for gas payments, the sources said.

In addition, euro zone finance ministers will discuss retaliatory measures if Putin continues to insist on paying for gas in rubles, a euro zone official said.

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