Ukraine calls for full embargo on all Russian energy supplies

The Ukrainian finance minister has called for a full embargo on Russian energy in a bid to make it harder for the nation to “finance their military needs”.

(C) AP Serhiy Marchenko

Sergeii Marchenko said the war had led to energy prices surging which is a boon for Moscow. Mr Marchenko told the BBC: “Huge oil and gas prices help Russia to receive additional amounts to make their budget run with a surplus. In comparison we are running the country with very huge deficit in our budget.

“I believe that a full embargo can make Russia suffer more than it is right now.” He said the war meant his country was collecting less in taxes “because more than 20 per cent of our businesses are fully closed”. “It means that we can’t manage to fulfil our necessary duty as a government without international support, or without just printing money,” he added.

It comes after the European Union’s top official called on the 27-nation bloc to ban oil imports from Russia on Wednesday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, proposed having EU member nations phase out imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year. “We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimizes the impact on global markets,” Ms von der Leyen said.

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The proposals must be unanimously approved to take effect and are likely to be the subject of fierce debate.

Ms Von der Leyen conceded that getting all 27 member countries — some of them landlocked and highly dependent on Russia for energy supplies — to agree on oil sanctions “will not be easy.” The EU gets about 25 per cent of its oil from Russia, most of which goes toward gasoline and diesel for vehicles. Russia supplies about 14 per cent of diesel, S&P Global analysts said, and a cut off could send already high prices for truck and tractor fuel soaring.

In a video message posted on Twitter, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed Ms Von der Leyen’s proposal for an oil embargo. He said Ukraine is not happy it will be delayed for several months, but “it’s better than nothing.” “I think what should be clear now is that (the time) for half-sanctions or half-measures when it comes to sanctions is gone,” Kuleba said, arguing that the EU can no longer support Ukraine on one hand by imposing sanctions, while continuing to pay Russia for oil and gas and support their “war machine.”

“As long as Russia continues to receive revenues in billions from the European Union we cannot speak of defeating Russia,” he said. “They will continue financing their war machine from oil and gas revenues.” In addition to sanctions on various entities and individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of his family, the EU previously approved an embargo on coal imports. The EU has started discussions on a possible natural gas embargo, but consensus among member countries on targeting the fuel used to generate electricity and heat homes is more difficult to secure.

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