If we buy Putin’s oil, we are paying the price for his war crimes – POLITICO

Anders Fogh Rasmussen is the founder and president of Rasmussen Global. He served as a security adviser to former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (2016–19) and former Secretary General of NATO (2009-14) and former Prime Minister of Denmark (2001-09).

Three weeks from now, Russian President Putin’s war will not go as planned.

His dream of quick and painless regime change in Ukraine is turning into a nightmare in the face of stiff resistance. Told they would be greeted as liberators, the Russian army was instead faced with Javelin missiles and sniper fire. Even in towns that were nominally controlled by the Russians, residents wearing the Ukrainian flag stood up to the invading soldiers.

In large parts of the country, the invasion has stalled, and the war is entering a dangerous new phase. Putin is doubling down and employing increasingly brutal tactics, as the Russian military attacks artillery and rockets into civilian areas. But as he increases the brutality of his war effort, we must also increase the level of our response. And we have to deal with the elephant in the room: importing oil and gas to Europe. To end this war, the European Union needs to turn off the faucet.

So far, the West has shown determination and solidarity in the face of this crisis. Economic sanctions are starting to take effect, and every day another European or American company stops working in Russia. Putin may do all he can to hide his war from ordinary Russians, but he cannot hide the economic consequences. Russians can no longer watch Netflix or buy the latest iPhones. And even if they could, the ruble in their pocket is worth half what it was two weeks ago.

But even when we enforce sanctions, we still send hundreds of millions of euros a day that are used to fund the Russian war effort. In 2021, 36% of Russian government revenue comes from the sale of oil and gas. The EU remains Russia’s largest trading partner and the main market for its energy reserves. More than 50 percent of the country Oil and gas export go to Europe. On the one hand, we pushed the Russian economy off the cliff, on the other, we threw it into a lifeline.

This current policy is backfired. As oil and gas prices soar, we’re pouring more and more money into Putin’s coffers – we’re directly funding his war and war crimes. The only effective solution is to completely stop the transfer to Russia. EU needs join the US and immediately cease all imports of Russian oil and gas. This will cause the Russian economy to collapse.

Don’t make a mistake. A complete cessation of Russian oil and gas imports to Europe will come at a cost. But that price is small compared to the suffering of the Ukrainian people today; it is very small compared to the loss of freedom that will happen if we do not act now. And that’s a price we can handle.

Energy policy is also security policy. By replacing Russian gas lines with more liquefied natural gas (LNG), increasing oil imports from other suppliers, expanding storage capacity and reducing energy consumption, we can short-term control. In the long run, we must improve energy efficiency and accelerate the development of new and sustainable energy sources.

Putin is calculating that Europe’s economic interests will outweigh the moral and political support for Ukraine. We have to prove him wrong. We have to show we’re in this for the long haul. That we are prepared to weather an economic storm to end our dependence on Russian energy. This certainly won’t come cheap, but if it helps end suffering in Ukraine, it’s a price worth paying. If we buy Putin's oil, we are paying the price for his war crimes - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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