On April 1, a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin came into force, which requires non-friendly nations to pay for supplies of Russian gas only in rubles.
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According to the deputy prime minister, Moscow's energy resources are vital to ensuring energy security in Europe. In this regard, he said that countries of the European Union (EU) would probably be unable to fully substitute Russian energy in the following five to ten years.
The measure, which requires unfriendly countries to access Russian natural gas only through payments in rubles, was adopted in the wake of the large number of sanctions imposed on Moscow since Russia's special military operation in Ukraine on February 24 and targeted hostile nations that have frozen Russian foreign exchange reserves via sanctions.
Buyers who operate from those non-friendly countries must open two accounts at Russian Gazprombank, one in euros and the other in rubles, as determined by Russia. The gas payment would go to the euro account; afterward, the bank would switch it to rubles. Once the rubles arrive, the bank will consider the payments to be completed.
Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said his country agrees to pay for Russian gas following the suggested procedure and added that Hungary deems it is not an infringement of the EU regime of sanctions.
For his part, Armenia's Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan said that his country has already completed several payments for Russian gas in rubles.