French President
Emmanuel Macron has denied Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand for gas
payments in Russian ruble saying that this is an attempt to sidestep sanctions
imposed by European nations against Russia’s ‘invasion’ of Ukraine. At a
European Union summit in Brussels, Macron told the media that Russia’s move is
not in line with what was signed and he does not see why it should apply.

The French President
added that while analyses were being carried out, he was positive that all
texts signed are clear: It is prohibited. So, European players who buy gas and
who are on European soil must do so in euros. “It is therefore not possible to
do what is requested, and it is not contractual.”

Germany, one of
the biggest buyers of Russian gas, has also denounced Putin’s demand. German
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the contract clearly mentioned how gas payments
were to be made.

On Thursday,
German utilities said the country needed an early warning system apprehending
gas shortages. However, German minister of economy, Robert Habeck said there
was no need for an early warning system because supply was guaranteed.

Vladimir Putin, on
Wednesday, demanded that gas payments be made in rubles and said that Russia
has always been a reliable gas supplier regardless of geopolitics. Even amid
the Cold War, Moscow had ensured the supply of natural gas to Germany, its
biggest consumer, according to a Reuters report.

Meanwhile, Russia
has ensured that it pays Ukraine in full for transhipment of natural gas. Even
while European nations are trying to cut down their dependence on Russian gas,
the immediate demand has soared.

A Bloomberg report
shows that the demand for Russian gas has spiked by nearly 50% since January.
Ukraine has called upon its Western allies to put gas payments in an escrow
account until Russia withdraws troops from Ukraine.

Signs of a
de-escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict are gradually becoming evident.
While going into Ukraine, Vladimir Putin had said that the goal was to
demilitarise and denazify Ukraine. On Thursday, a Russian military official
said Kremlin was in Ukraine to liberate the Donbass region, a task which it
felt it was close to completing.