Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Western banks of failing to pay for Russian gas supplies after he demanded that European Union member states and other countries pay for Russian gas in rubles.

Speaking at a meeting on the current situation in the country’s oil and gas sector on April 14, Putin blamed Western partners for what he called “defaults on export deliveries of Russian energy resources.”

“Banks from these extremely unfriendly states are withholding the transfer of payments,” Putin said.

Last month, Putin demanded that EU nations pay for gas supplies in rubles as crippling international sanctions slapped on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine began to hit hard, especially on the country’s currency.

The move meant that European nations that have imposed sanctions on Russia, along with Britain, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States, would have to buy rubles at rates fixed by Russia’s central bank to pay for Russian natural gas. The measure would bolster the ruble by raising demand for it.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting outside Moscow
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting outside Moscow

In his comments on April 14, Putin also warned that Moscow would take measures in response to a possible decision on imposing an embargo on Russia’s oil and gas, which Kyiv has been pushing the West to implement.

“The consequences of such a move can be very painful, especially for the initiators of such a policy,” Putin said.

Putin emphasized the importance of building new pipelines to transport energy from Siberia to parts of the world other than Europe.

“Increasing the capacity for the transportation of oil in the Arctic and Far Eastern ports is also a very important goal,” Putin said.

Meanwhile, the European Commission said in an internal note on April 14 that payment for Russian gas in rubles by EU member states would break the European Union’s sanctions regime against Moscow.

Hungary is the only EU country that has said it would be prepared to pay in rubles for Russian gas.