MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. The demand to make gas payments in Russian rubles is not blackmail, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday, adding that Russia remains a reliable energy supplier.
"This is not blackmail; Russia has been and remains a reliable energy supplier to its clients, and Russia remains committed to its contract obligations," Peskov said, commenting on the statement made by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.
Peskov noted that Russia had to switch to gas payments in rubles, because "a significant reserve sum was stolen" from Russia.
"The conditions, cemented in the presidential order - I mean the new payment method - were dictated by the unprecedented hostile steps in economy and finance areas, take by unfriendly states against us," the spokesman explained.
"This necessity [to switch to ruble payments] was dictated by the fact that we had a rather significant sum of our reserves blocked, or, as we say it in Russia, stolen from us," Peskov said. "All this required a transition to a new payment system."
"Therefore, there is no blackmail here, our clients were informed about all new modalities in advance. So we categorically disagree with such definition," he concluded.
The spokesman also assured that Moscow will do everything that it finds necessary to protect its own interests.