BERLIN -- The Group of Seven major economies have agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay for Russian natural gas exports in rubles, the German energy minister said Monday.
Robert Habeck told reporters that “all G-7 ministers agreed completely that this (would be) a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts.” He said officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada met Friday to coordinate their position and that European Union representatives also were present.
It was also a breach of "contract" to seize property and money of both Russia and private citizens who happen to be Russian, the latter in particular being done without evidence presented that a crime has been committed for which such a forfeit is reasonably tied to the alleged crime.
I get it that nation states often think of contracts and private property rights as "quaint", say much less a basic right to life. After all war, by its nature, vitiates all such claimed pleasantries.
The very nature of war also means that once you take sides expecting anyone on the other side to do anything for you is rather foolish. This is the price that is exacted when you extend the concept of "trade blunting the will to use bullets" into not just voluntary associations but essential goods and services where you have no reasonable substitutes available.
Of course the G7 nations can refuse to pay for their gas in Rubles and argue that such a demand is a unilateral breach of the agreements made with Russia.
However, the sanctions are a unilateral and prior breach of the same agreements by the G7, since the G7 agreed to pay for said gas, and with the sanctions in place the payment cannot be made. Since the imposing parties of said sanctions include the recipients of the gas this is legally and functionally the same as agreeing to pay $50,000 for a car and then getting in it and driving away after putting a stop payment order on the check.
In the common vernacular that's fraud.
Nobody is going to let you get away with that if they can help it and, if you manage to get away with it once the second time you won't get the car until you prove you can deliver to the other party good funds for both the new and the previous vehicle you stole by conversion.
Thus while Germany and other nations can refuse to pay in Rubles it is equally true that by breaching the covenant implied in all commercial transactions to deliver good funds in exchange for the good or service, which the G7 has done, the contract has been vitiated by the G7 and, in point of fact, Russia has delivered natural gas without being paid for the last month.
There's no reason for them to continue to do that and thus it is entirely reasonable for them to shut the pipelines down until the sanctions are lifted and every single Dollar or Euro due for the previously-delivered volume is safely in Russia and available for use.
Just because Putin is a bastard doesn't mean that, on this matter, he is not correct.
Nobody is under any obligation, ever, to deliver something without being paid for it and it is the G7 who violated the contractual terms by refusing to pay. That decision was entirely within their sphere of control and thus Russia's demand to cover all such deliveries in a form of payment usable by Russia in the present tense is not only reasonable you'd insist on the same at your own personal job so spare me the wailing about how "unreasonable" such a demand might be.
Or Germany and other European nations can freeze in the dark should they so desire.
You have to wonder if Germans still think it was a wise idea to hitch their energy wagon to Russia while shutting down their perfectly-functional nuclear and coal plants.....