Vladimir Putin threatens to cut Europe off from Russian gas from tomorrow 4 months ago

Vladimir Putin threatens to cut Europe off from Russian gas from tomorrow

The warning comes as Britain is already facing an energy price hike

Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut gas supply to "unfriendly countries" from Friday if they don't pay their bills in rubles.

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In a televised statement on Thursday, the Russian president signed a decree ordering nations that import energy to open accounts with a state-linked bank and pay for it in its currency, something Putin said was designed to "strengthen our sovereignty".

The Kremlin warned, that if countries fail to do so they will be "in breach of contract" and supplies will stop.

"In order to purchase Russian natural gas, they must open rouble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting from tomorrow," Putin said.

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"If such payments are not made, we will consider this a default on the part of buyers, with all the ensuing consequences.

"Nobody sells us anything for free, and we are not going to do charity either - that is, existing contracts will be stopped."

Existing contracts will be honoured, however, provided customers follow the new rules, Putin added.

Since Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, Europe has been trying to find alternative energy supplies and has wounded Russia's economy with an assault of sanctions.

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