In response to sanctions, Moscow has doubled down on its demands that its “hostile” European “partners” pay for its oil and gas in rubles instead of euros (which, as the bloc already demonstrated, can be easily confiscated in the name of “sanctions”). Germany has to resort to rationing fuel after refusing.
The German government is digging in its heels as the payment dispute threatens to precipitate problematic energy shortages in Europe’s largest economy. According to a report by the Financial Times. German Energy Minister Robert Habeck has activated the “early warning phase” of Germany’s gas emergency law, which was adopted to help ration supplies in the face of a severe shortage.
It is going to take President Joe Biden and the United States will years to reroute their promised LNG exports (and even so, they will likely never be able to fully compensate for Russian supplies). This means Germany will need to ration gasoline if they continue to refuse to pay for Russian gas in rubles. Russia gave other options as well, however:
After demanding last week that “hostile states” pay for its gas and oil in rubles (although it hinted that gold and cryptocurrency might also be considered), Moscow said it wouldn’t share its resources “for free” after the G-7 aggressively repudiated the Russians’ request. “We will definitely not supply oil and gas for free, that’s for sure. It’s hardly possible and reasonable to engage in charity in our situation,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this week.
As Germany scrambles to address a looming shortfall in energy supplies, analysts are warning that the government’s refusal to meet Moscow’s request for payment in rubles could create a “substantial” risk, according to ZeroHedge.
Of course, if Berlin doesn’t pay in rubles (or gold or cryptocurrency) as Moscow asked, gas won’t be the only commodity in short supply. The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it would be demanding ruble payments for exports of oil, grain, fertilizers, coal, metals, and other key commodities in addition to natural gas. Russia’s top lawmaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Wednesday that this was a “good idea”, per Reuters.