Putin threatens to stop sending gas to Europe if countries don't pay Russia in rubles

Russian President Vladimir PutinKremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on Thursday to stop sending gas to Europe if countries Russia designated as "unfriendly" don't pay in rubles.

"If unfriendly countries do not pay in rubles from April 1, we will consider this a default on gas contracts, in which case existing contracts will be stopped," Putin said after signing a decree on Thursday, according to Russian state news outlet RIA Novosti.

The list of "unfriendly countries," which received the designation from Russia in response to widespread condemnation of its war against Ukraine, includes the US, UK, and European Union countries.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, Russia is the largest gas-exporting country in the world. Nearly half of its exports go to European countries.

President Joe Biden announced earlier in March that the US would ban Russian energy imports — which includes oil and natural gas — amid a slew of harsh economic sanctions.

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.

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