“We have to discuss how we can support Ukraine further, politically and economically, with humanitarian aid and security, everything is on the table. So that we can ensure that we will do what we can to stop Putin and his aggression against Ukraine,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters. “It is important With economic sanctions to continue on this path.”
“I think it is inevitable to start talking about the energy sector. We can certainly talk about oil, because it is the biggest revenue for the Russian budget,” said Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis, upon his arrival in Brussels for a meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart. counterparts in the European Union.
Other countries in the European Union support the idea of striking Russia’s most valuable asset with sanctions.
“Given the extent of the devastation in Ukraine at the moment, it is very difficult – in my opinion – to prove that we should not move into the energy sector, particularly oil and coal, in terms of boycotting normal trade in that,” said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
The European Union currently depends on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas. Russia also supplies about 27% of oil imports, and 46% of coal imports.
What will Germany do?
There is also a risk that Russia will retaliate by restricting natural gas exports. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said this month that Moscow might cut off gas supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as punishment. Berlin is blocking the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia have already banned imports of Russian oil, affecting nearly 13% of Russia’s exports. The moves of major oil companies and international banks to stop dealing with Moscow after the invasion force Russia to offer its crude at a huge discount.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency, which monitors energy supplies for the world’s leading advanced economies, said Russian production could fall by 3 million barrels per day.
“The implications of a possible loss of Russian oil exports to world markets cannot be underestimated,” the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report.
However, despite the challenges of finding alternative suppliers and protecting businesses and consumers from price hikes, political opinion in Europe may harden as Russia steps up attacks on Ukrainian cities, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing millions to flee their homes.
Much will return to countries such as Germany, Russia’s largest energy consumer in Europe, as well as other countries that buy much of its gas, such as Hungary and Italy.
“I think the German public is doing a lot of persuasion to the German government,” Landsbergis said when asked if Berlin could be persuaded to ban Russian oil. “So far, they’ve succeeded. I hope they continue.”
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