The White House sees Moscow’s demand as artificial support for the ruble by the Russian Central Bank.
The United States supports the refusal of a number of European countries to pay in rubles for the supply of Russian natural gas, said White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield.
In response to the question whether the United States supports their European allies on the issue of payments, Bedingfield replied with a short: “Yes.”
“I think the German Chancellor has clearly stated that the contracts exist as they are, and there will be no changes there,” she said.
“What we see here is the artificial support of the ruble by the Russian Central Bank and the Russian authorities,” the White House communications director noted. “I would also say that in the first few days after the conflict began, the ruble was a credible measure of the state of the Russian economy. But now this is no longer the case, partly due to the fact that these artificial measures were taken.”
According to Bedingfield, attention should be paid to “sharp inflation in Russia” and the “withdrawal of private investment” from the country.
“I mean, this is a more accurate indicator of the state of the Russian economy at the moment,” she stressed.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the transfer of settlements with “unfriendly” countries for the supply of Russian gas to rubles from April 1.
Those who disagree with the new payment system are threatened with the termination of deliveries.
According to economists, this will not happen immediately, since payment for some contracts should be made in the second half of April, and for most of the agreements — in May.
However, Germany has already stated that the EU will continue to pay in euros, and called the actions of the Russian Federation “blackmail.”
Nevertheless, Russia warned that if Gazprom’s customers refuse the new payment scheme, the Russian Federation will regard this as a default and will stop deliveries.
“Nobody sells us anything for free, and we are not going to do charity work either. That is, the existing contracts will be stopped,” President Putin said at a meeting with members of the government.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, meanwhile, confirmed Germany’s refusal to pay in rubles, recalling that contracts for the purchase of Russian gas provide for payment in euros or dollars and “it will remain that way.”
Earlier, the G7 countries, which in addition to Germany include Italy, Canada, France, the United States, Great Britain and Japan, called on companies based in these countries not to agree to the requirements of the Russian Federation.
Meanwhile, Poland announced on Wednesday the adoption of measures aimed at completely abandoning oil imports from Russia by the end of the year.
Recall that today the European Union, whose energy depends on imported raw materials from Russia by about 30-40 percent, refrained from imposing anti-Russian sanctions in the oil and gas sector. Poland, thus, became the first country to take decisive steps to end its dependence on the Russian Federation against the background of the war in Ukraine.
“We are presenting the most radical plan in Europe to abandon Russian oil by the end of this year,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed at a press conference in Warsaw. He called on European partners to follow the example of Poland in order not to “finance the Russian military machine.”
Morawiecki’s words came just a day after the Polish authorities announced that they would ban the import of Russian coal by the end of May.
The European Union plans to reduce gas purchases from Russia by two-thirds by the end of this year and completely abandon them by 2030.