Russia addressed the concerns of European countries on Thursday about the plan to switch settlements for gas delivery from euros to rubles.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Moscow’s decision would create many problems. He explained that Bulgaria, the country through which gas supplies to Serbia and Hungary is delivered, has declared its unwillingness to switch to rubles in gas payments.
In response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the issue is closed, and Bulgaria will have to pay in rubles “whether they like it or not.”
However, he addressed Serbia’s concerns, noting that the country has abstained from any hostile acts or comments against Russia in connection with Ukraine.
“This does not apply to Serbia. The problem remains to be solved and, naturally, Serbia’s concerns will be our top priority,” Peskov said.
“It’s absolutely normal, [Vucic] is right, this can really be a problematic situation, because in this case, Bulgaria took hostile steps against us, so they will have to pay in rubles, whether they want to or not, whether they like it or not,” Peskov stated.
Earlier this week, the former deputy energy minister of Bulgaria, Yavor Kuyumdzhiyev, said the country greatly depends on Russian gas and lacks alternatives.
In the first major response to Western sanctions, President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that Russia will now accept payment for gas exports to “unfriendly countries” in rubles only.
The timeframe for switching to rubles in gas payments has not been announced yet. However, according to Peskov, the conditions for the move will be clarified directly to Russian gas buyers in due course.