Russia won’t demand that EU buyers of its gas immediately pay in rubles, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.
Moscow said last week it would no longer accept payments for natural gas shipments in dollars or euros from “unfriendly countries” such as the EU and the U.S. This demand was seen as a direct response to the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had asked state-owned exporter Gazprom to make the necessary contract changes and find technical solutions to enable the currency switch by the end of March. But asked whether the new rules will be operational as of Thursday, Peskov replied: “No, absolutely not.”
“After all, as we’ve discussed it, payments and deliveries are a process spanning a certain period of time,” he said. “It’s not like it’s delivered tomorrow and must be paid for [immediately in rubles]. It spans a longer period for purely technological reasons.”
However, the Kremlin said Wednesday that the list of exports that will be paid in rubles would be gradually widened.
“This is an idea to be definitely worked out,” Peskov said.
Several Western countries, including Germany, have refused to renegotiate contracts and to pay for gas in rubles.