UK’s Johnson insists Russia’s oil sanctions are ‘highly concerned’ – POLITICO

LONDON – Boris Johnson talked about the prospect of Russian oil sanctions on Monday even as his German and Dutch counterparts showed their displeasure with the idea.

Asked about the prospect of banning Russian oil imports to the UK, he said: “Perhaps something that maybe three or four weeks ago we never considered, is now a lot on the table.”

He added that when it comes to reducing Russia’s dependence on hydrocarbons, “some countries will find it quicker and easier than others, that’s all – but we will.”

The British Prime Minister spoke at a joint press conference with his Canadian and Dutch counterparts Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte, who highlighted the “painful reality that we are still heavily dependent on Russian gas. “

“If we now force European companies to stop doing business with Russia, that will have huge dispersion across Europe and the UK, but also around the world,” warns Rutte.

Allied with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Dutch leader called for “a step-by-step approach” in which “we do this diligently and not overnight.”

Scholz previously said in a statement that “the supply of energy to Europe for heat generation, mobility, electricity supply and industry cannot be guaranteed in any other way at this time” and “due to where it is of vital importance” to public services.

His comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his country was in talks with European allies about banning Russian oil imports in an attempt to increase pressure on Moscow to stop attacking Ukraine.

New energy strategy

At Monday’s press conference, Johnson said the UK would consider using more domestically produced hydrocarbons, but insisted it was not abandoning the country’s commitments to cut carbon emissions. Trudeau pledged Canada will be “there to support the world” as it leaves Russia’s energy imports.

Johnson has promised a new energy supply strategy in the coming days, while UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to meet G7 energy ministers for talks, his Cabinet colleague Liz Truss told legislators.

Meanwhile, all three leaders appeared to acknowledge the need to increase defense spending, with Johnson pointing out that “we cannot go back to the status quo the way we did after the invasion.” Crimea … we need a new focus on our collective Defense.”

Rutte promised: “The Netherlands will spend heavily on the defense”.

The three countries announced that they would lead an “International Ukraine Support Group” to coordinate international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine. UK's Johnson insists Russia's oil sanctions are 'highly concerned' - POLITICO

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