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Serbian president believes Europe can’t do without Russian gas in coming years

Europe consumes 500 billion cubic meters of gas, while America and Qatar can offer 15 billion, Aleksandar Vucic said

BELGRADE, March 26. /TASS/. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told the RTS-2 TV channel that Europe is unlikely to survive painlessly without Russian gas in the coming years.

"There are gas shortages, and that is why we need to talk to Russians. Europe will move towards reducing its dependence on the Russian gas, but can this happen in the coming years? This is [going to be] very difficult," Vucic said.

"Europe consumes 500 billion cubic meters of gas, while America and Qatar can offer 15 billion, up to the last molecule. I spoke to [Azerbaijani President Ilkham] Aliyev many times, <…> but the problem is that there is no gas. That is why German and Austrian politicians <…> to whom I have spoken, told me: "We cannot just destroy ourselves. If we impose sanctions on Russia in the oil and gas domain, we will destroy ourselves. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot before rushing into a fight. This is how certain rational people in the West see it today," the Serbian leader continued.

On March 23, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would refuse to accept payment for natural gas supplies in "compromised" currencies, including dollars and euros, and would switch to payments in rubles. According to him, after Russia's payments for gas with unfriendly countries are converted into rubles, foreign consumers should have options to carry out the necessary operations. The head of state stressed that future changes in gas contracts with unfriendly countries will only affect the currency of payment, since it will be changed to the Russian ruble.

Putin also tasked the government with giving an appropriate directive to Gazprom on making changes to effective contracts.