Move by Putin to counter a barrage of Western sanctions.
Russia wants “unfriendly countries” to pay for Russian natural gas in roubles. That’s a new directive from President Vladimir Putin as he attempts to leverage his country’s in-demand resources to counter a barrage of Western sanctions.
The new requirement appeared aimed at propping up the flagging Russian currency, the rouble, by increasing demand for it. Its value gained against the dollar and the euro following Putin’s announcement.
Natural gas prices surged in Europe, where Russia has supplied about 45% of imports. Marcel Salikhov, President of the Institute for Energy and Finance in Moscow, said the move amounted to a “symbolic counter-sanction” aimed at the West. He noted that the Kremlin had already ordered exporters to exchange 80% of their foreign-currency proceeds for roubles.