French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request for Europe to pay for gas in rubles as he accused Moscow of trying to circumvent sanctions over its war with Ukraine. .
Macron told journalists after an EU summit in Brussels that Russia’s move “did not conform to what was signed and I don’t understand why we applied it”.
Putin made the request this week as Moscow is struggling to shore up its economy in the face of weakening Western sanctions imposed over his invasion of Ukraine.
Macron said that “we are continuing our analytical work” following the Kremlin’s move.
But he insists “all signed documents are clear: it is prohibited. So European players buy gasoline and those who are on European soil must do so in euros”.
“Therefore it is not possible today to do what is required, and it is not a contract,” he said.
The French leader said he believes Moscow is using the step as a “mechanism to circumvent” EU sanctions against the country over the Ukraine attack.
Major German gas buyers have denounced the move, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday reiterated that the contracts clearly stipulate how gas will be paid.
Europe is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. It continues to spend hundreds of millions of euros a day to Moscow in energy payments, which are currently outside the scope of sanctions.
Several EU countries have called for the bloc to ban Moscow’s vital energy exports, but the move has so far been stymied by countries including Germany remaining overly wary of the cost of cutting the cords.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)