- The EU is the largest consumer of Russian natural gas
- Poland said on Thursday it won't be paying for its gas imports in rubles, citing contractual agreements.
- Bitcoin traded at highs near $44,000 on Thursday evening, pushing higher after breaking resistance in early deals.
Russia will accept Bitcoin (BTC-USD) for its natural gas if a ‘friendly’ country said it wanted to pay in the cryptocurrency, Pavel Zavalny, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Energy said on Thursday.
Zavalny’s said this during a press conference a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the country would require “unfriendly” countries to pay for natural gas exports in rubles.
Putin, speaking on Wednesday, directed that companies seeking to import gas make arrangements to switch from currencies such as euros and dollars to the ruble.
‘If they want Bitcoin, we’ll trade Bitcoin’
In Thursday’s press conference, Zalvany said countries that are friendly to Russia would be allowed to pay using their national currencies.
Using China and Turkey as an example, he said the countries could use the ruble, the yuan (for China), or the lira (Turkey).
However, if there was a need to go further, Moscow would not have a problem accepting Bitcoin (BTC), he added.
“When it comes to our ‘friendly’ countries, like China or Turkey, which don’t pressure us, then we have been offering them for a while to switch payments to national currencies, like rubles and yuan,” Zavalny explained to reporters.
He said Turkey could choose to pay using lira or rubles, noting that this would now be the standard practice.
“So there can be a variety of currencies, and that’s a standard practice. If they want Bitcoin, we will trade in Bitcoin,” he added.
Russia will also accept gold, Zavalny said.
In related news, Poland’s largest oil and gas company said Thursday it would not be paying for imports in rubles. PGNiG CEO Pawel Majewski said there were contracts in place and that’s what they would seek to honour.
Russia has faced increasingly tougher sanctions since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The sanctions have cut off Russia’s access to foreign reserves of about $630 billion.
Several government officials and oligarchs have also been slapped with sanctions over their relationship with Kremlin.