‘We will not supply your gas for free!’ Russia warns EU

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Gazprom’s central booster compressor station at Chayandinskoye field

MOSCOW is handling the details of its gas delivery plans to unfriendly countries for payment in roubles, but it won’t engage in charity if Europe refuses to pay in the Russian currency, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin requested reporting on measures on the issue before March 31.
‘The supply process is very complicated,’ Peskov said, adding that it includes ‘both the supplies and the payment, as well as adjustment of balances.
‘Currently all modalities are being developed by the departments, with Gazprom, after which a clear timeframe will be defined,’ he said when asked what particularly should be implemented during this period.
The Kremlin spokesman remained tight-lipped on what measures Russia might take if Europe refuses to pay for gas in roubles, noting that these ‘issues should be sorted out as they develop.’
‘But we will definitely not supply gas for free, that’s for sure.
‘It is hardly possible and reasonable to engage in charity in our situation.’
Earlier, Putin requested moving payments for gas supplies to unfriendly countries to roubles, saying that Moscow would refuse accepting payments on such contracts in discredited currencies, including dollars and euros.
At the same time, Russian news agency Interfax reported that pumping via the Ukrainian gas-transit corridor remains at the same peak level, corresponding to the volumes of the long-term contract of 40 billion cubic metres per year, or 109 million cubic metres per day.
European buyers have increased bookings for supplies of gas from Gazprom following the sharp rise in prices owing to the sanctions imposed against Russia.
The current price of gas at the Dutch TTF gas hub is $1,100 per thousand cubic metres, implying that off-take per contract with Gazprom – the most expensive month-ahead contract in March is around $930 per thousand cubic metres – remains a better deal than buying spot.
‘Gazprom is supplying Russian gas for transit through the territory of Ukraine in the regular mode in accordance with the bookings of European consumers at 109.5 million cubic metres on March 28,’ Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.
According to the data of the Gas Transmission System (GTS) Operator of Ukraine, nomination for March 28 is 109.5 million cubic metres, and bookings for March 27 totalled 109.5 million cubic metres.
The Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, which pumps gas through Belarus and Poland to Germany, switched to reverse mode last week and has been pumping in this direction since then.
Gas supplies from Germany to Poland, meaning off-take of additional volumes from the main European hubs, are another component of the current high prices in the EU.
Colder temperatures are expected to set in in Europe this week. Average temperatures will be seven degrees below the week of March 14-20; with significant subzero temperatures at night, which will provide new support for gas prices.
Wind power generation, which is intended to help the region reduce its dependence on fuel from Russia, continues to fall.
The unpredictable behaviour of renewables is a catalyst for rising gas demand and, consequently, gas prices.
In the week from March 14 to 20, wind power plants provided an average of 17% of EU power generation, while in the previous week (from 21 to 28) the figure was only 12%.

  • Germany is against sending NATO peacekeepers to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the ARD TV channel on Sunday.

‘We will not act there in the military sphere even if one calls it peacekeeping troops,’ he said. ‘We won’t aspire to create a no-fly zone there either,’ the Chancellor added.
That said, the official stated that he was doing ‘everything to help Ukraine’. According to him, currently ‘sanctions are the main tool’ against Russia.
Earlier, Warsaw proposed to send a NATO peacekeeping mission to western Ukraine. Polish President Andrzej Duda planned to submit his proposal to US President Joe Biden at the March 24 NATO summit.
Following the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO would not send troops to Ukraine since it would lead to a full-scale conflict with Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Justice Ministry has put Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcasting company on the list of foreign agents, the ministry’s website said on Monday.
‘On March 28, 2022, pursuant to the requirements of the current legislation of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation included Deutsche Welle in its registry of foreign mass media outlets performing the functions of a foreign agent,’ the statement said.
This decision was made on the basis of documents received from authorised state authorities.
On February 2nd, the Commission on Licensing and Supervision banned the broadcasting of the RT DE TV channel in Germany since there was no required license under the media law.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced earlier that Moscow was shutting down Deutsche Welle’s news bureau in Russia as the first stage of retaliatory measures following the German regulator’s move to ban RT DE in Germany. Other measures will include the withdrawal of credentials from all staff members at Deutsche Welle’s Russian bureau.

  • French retail network Auchan will carry on with its work on the territory of Russia because the company operates in the interests of civilians, Auchan CEO Yves Claude said in an interview with French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

Claude’s comments come in the wake of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s calls on French companies to leave the Russian market.
‘It is fruitless to pit people against each other,’ Claude said. ‘The most important thing for us is to preserve our employees and ensure our primary mission, which is to continue to feed the populations in these two countries. We never had any other objective.
‘I am ready to assume a public opinion that does not agree with us,’ he continued. ‘It is easy to criticise us, but we are there, we face up and we act for the civilian population.’
Claude added: ‘We make fresh bread in our stores every day for Ukrainians and for Russians, which is vital at the moment.
‘Russia, where the brand has been present for twenty years, we employ nearly 30,000 employees.
‘We act as a discounter and we think we can contribute in times of high inflation to protect the purchasing power of the inhabitants.
‘If Auchan leaves, we will deprive 30,000 people of employment, 40% of whom are employees and shareholders.’
On March 23, Ukrainian President Zelensky said in his video message to the French Parliament that companies from France working in Russia should stop their activities because of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.

  • About 24% of Russians believe it is necessary to hold their own international competitions in the country as an alternative to tournaments where the nation’s athletes are barred from participating.

This is corroborated by the results of a poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, provided by TASS.
‘This is the prevailing view in the North Caucasus Federal District (30%). Fifteen per cent of the respondents insisted that Russia should fight to restore our athletes’ rights,’ the opinion poll states.
‘This position is twice as common among young people 18-24 years (31%), and among the inhabitants of the Siberian Federal District nearly a quarter (23%) believe so,’ it adds.
The overwhelming majority of Russians (91%) are more or less informed about the suspension of Russian athletes from international competitions amid Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
More than half of the respondents agree that Russian athletes would have been suspended from international competitions in any case (62%), while a third believe that the reason for the suspension was solely the military special operation on the territory of Ukraine (32%).
Fifteen per cent said they believe that Russia should fight to restore athletes’ rights. Meanwhile, almost half feel that it is essential to tackle both fronts, that is, reinstating the rights of athletes and holding international competitions in Russia (48%).
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine in response to an appeal for help from the leaders of the Donbass Republics.
After that, a number of international sports organisations suspended Russian and Belarusian athletes from participation in competitions. Also, Russia and Belarus were banned from hosting global and continental competitions.
The VCIOM Sputnik All-Russian telephone survey was conducted on March 21, 2022. The sample size was 1,600 respondents aged 18 years and older; the maximum margin of error with a 95% probability of error did not exceed 2.5%.

  • Russia is proud of its National Guard servicemen, who courageously perform their duties in the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, Russian President Putin said on Sunday in his video message dedicated to the Russian National Guard Troops Day.

‘I congratulate you on your professional holiday, the Day of Russian National Guard Troops,’ Putin stated. ‘Established six years ago, the National Guard has become an inseparable and reliable link in the comprehensive state system of ensuring the rule of law and law enforcement, and protecting the rights and interests of our citizens.
‘I want to specially address the service personnel and staff of the National Guard units involved in the special military operation in Donbass and Ukraine,’ the president said. ‘Comrades, indeed, combat conditions involve increased risk.
‘I am well aware of how you act in this situation: highly courageously and professionally, skilfully and fearlessly, you resolve the most complicated tasks set before you competently and precisely while showing personal heroism.
‘Our entire vast country is rightly proud of each of you. I want to thank you for your stamina and your impeccable service to Russia, for your loyalty to our Fatherland, to your oath of allegiance and your duty.
‘I wish you and your families good health, success and good luck,’ Putin added.
The Russian National Guard is the government’s internal military force which reports directly to the President of the Russian Federation.
It was established on the basis of the Interior Ministry Troops in April 2016 by a decree signed by Putin.
The National Guard units are responsible for securing the country’s borders, enforcing gun control, combatting terrorism and organised crime, upholding public order, and guarding key state facilities.