MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Russia would be exposed to groundless risks, if it continued to sell gas to unfriendly countries for dollars and euros, because both currencies have lost credibility, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said on Friday.
"Amid the strongest pressures and illegitimate sanctions we still prefer to act as a responsible member of the international economic community. We have been doing nothing that might worsen conditions for our partners who are the recipients of our hydrocarbons. All contracts for them remain in force: the supply dates, the amounts and the prices set in the euros and dollars. The sole difference is the actual settlements will be performed in rubles," Matviyenko said at a meeting devoted to the development of Russia’s regional retail gas distribution networks, also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
"Nobody should over-dramatize or politicize this. It is our sovereign right and our sovereign decision. In the past, we were paid for gas in dollars and euros, and part of the payments went into our gold and foreign exchange reserves. We have been stripped of an opportunity to use these. In fact, this is a gross violation of international law and of the rules of international trade. We will no longer accept payments in currencies that have lost credibility. Selling hydrocarbons without being paid on time would be tantamount to charity," she added.
Matviyenko hopes that the partners in the West will react to Russia’s position with understanding and turn an attentive ear to Russia’s arguments. She described as right, patriotic and economically reasonable the decision to export gas to unfriendly countries on the condition of ruble payments.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier issued orders to shift all settlements for gas supplies to unfriendly countries to ruble payments. He stressed that Russia would refuse to accept payments under such contracts in discredited foreign currencies, such as the dollar and the euro, and instructed the government to order the Gazprom company to introduce the required amendments to the effective contracts. On March 31, Putin signed a decree on the rules of trade in natural gas with unfriendly countries under a new system of contract payments.