2022, May 16
Though for the European Union, a blockade on shipments of Russian oil looked a distant possibility just two months ago. But there were many voices that uttered it would be best that Europe made itself independent of Russian energy.
Mr Illarionov said that the number of Russians living in poverty, estimated to be almost 20m, could double or triple as its economy struggles, but Putin won’t give a damn. The impact of sanctions from the West is mostly felt by ordinary people. As Western sanctions, mass corporate boycotts and high inflation take their toll on households
Europe has purchased around a quarter of its oil from Russia, and now the EU is working on a plan to wean itself off the fossil fuel by the end of the year. The union is looking to have a group purchasing, but Germany does not want to take part in the group purchase. Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, imported £71.9 billion worth of Russian oil since Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Berlin came under almost daily attack from its western allies and Kyiv for its reluctance to cut off one of the Kremlin’s most vital revenue streams.
Once Germany would complain that an immediate suspension of imports of Russian oil would have detrimental consequences for the economy. That is no longer the case.
Russia made £60 billion from its oil exports in 2020, a pandemic-stricken year, rising to £89 billion last year.
Estimates place EU purchases of Russian oil since the start of the war on February 24 at around £17.8 billion.
By phasing out its imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, the EU can deal a heavy blow to the Kremlin’s war machine, described as inflicting “maximum pain” to Moscow by one European Commission official.
We must do everything possible to avoid the division of Europe, that Putin would like to see. We must, however, recognise that we have waited far too long to take really tough measures and to completely cut off gas and oil imports from Russia.
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