Bloc continues to buy Russian oil to rob Putin of bigger war chest, claims Ursula von der Leyen
The President of the European Commission has said that EU countries continue to buy Russian oil despite their promise to completely reduce their energy dependence on Russia to prevent it from selling crude elsewhere at a higher price.
The explanation came after MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski pressed Ursula von der Leyen to explain why the EU had not imposed a full embargo, during an interview on Monday.
Von der Leyen assured Brzezinski that the bloc’s long-term goal was to stop buying Russian fossil fuels and replace them with alternatives like renewable energy or liquefied natural gas supplied by the United States. She said Russian President Vladimir Putin made a mistake in ordering an attack on Ukraine, since he “lost its best customer, Europe.”
“We will never come back” she says.
The TV host wondered if a full oil trade embargo with Russia would be “the most effective means of imposing on [Putin] that he has committed a strategic failure”. Von der Leyen said the EU must find “the right balance” between hurting Putin with sanctions and not hurting himself too much in the process.
“If we cut oil immediately – as if today – it could perhaps bring the oil that it does not sell to the European Union to the world market, where the prices will increase, and resell it at a higher price, and fill his war chest, von der Leyen explained.
She acknowledged that “the rest of the world” had to join with the United States and its allies to avoid Russia so that the same scenario would not work in the future. So far, much of the global economy, including big energy consumers like China and India, has refused to support anti-Russian sanctions.
The MSNBC host suggested the EU should now consider applying the same decoupling strategy to China, suggesting that Beijing could “arm” trade with the EU.
Von der Leyen said EU-Russia energy relations were “unique” and say “others were watching very closely if we are going to win” the economic struggle against Russia.
“So is the China issue a bit advanced, but clearer now?” Brzezinski continued. “What can and should the US and EU do together to more effectively manage China’s expansionist goals, both economically and militarily? »
Von der Leyen would not pledge to become more confrontational with China than the EU already is, saying Europe will oppose Beijing on human rights, cooperate on climate change and be economically competitive.
Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine in late February, after kyiv’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk Accords, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of Donetsk’s Donbass republics and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
Western nations have responded to the crisis with a barrage of economic sanctions against Russia, which have been touted as a way to harm its economy and, by extension, its military without engaging in a direct fight against Russian troops. in Ukraine. EU members have agreed to Russian coal and crude cuts, but the hard-to-replace pipeline remains a stumbling block as the union discusses its sixth sanctions package.