As European countries look to wean themselves off of Russian energy, Moscow is looking to fill at least part of the gap by increasing oil exports to Asia.

There is a market “in South East-Asia, in the East,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

The world market is more diverse than just the European market, he said.

“Although, of course, the European market is premium,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said.

Peskov was reacting to the announcement by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that his government will move “pretty fast” to eliminate Germany’s dependence on Russian energy imports.

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Scholz said on Sunday that Germany could do this quickly in the case of coal and oil, although natural gas would take longer.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck said that Germany can probably halve Russian oil imports by the summer.

So far, Russia has continued its gas deliveries to Europe unabated in spite of its war against Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the West.

Peskov once again made it clear that Russia insists that natural gas deliveries to European countries be paid for in roubles, not euros.

Earlier, Putin had announced that gas deliveries to “unfriendly states” would only be invoiced in roubles.

The Kremlin’s move seemed designed to bolster a national currency pummelled by weeks of sanctions, although economists have questioned whether requiring rouble payments would actually make much of a difference.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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