UK’s Johnson insists Russian oil sanctions are ‘very much on the table’ – POLITICO

LONDON — Boris Johnson raised the prospect of Russian oil sanctions on Monday even as his German and Dutch counterparts signaled unease at the idea.

Asked about the prospect of banning imports of Russian oil into the UK, he said: “Something we might never have considered three or four weeks ago is now very much on the table. “

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

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

“If we now force European companies to stop doing business with Russia, it would have huge ramifications in Europe and the UK, but also around the world,” Rutte warned.

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

Scholz said earlier in a statement that “Europe’s energy supply for heat generation, mobility, electricity supply and industry cannot be secured in any other way at the moment.” and “it is therefore of essential importance” for public services.

His comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his country was in talks with European allies on a ban on Russian oil imports in a bid to step up pressure on Moscow to put in place end to its assault on Ukraine.

New energy strategy

At Monday’s press conference, Johnson said the UK would consider using more locally produced hydrocarbons, but insisted he was not abandoning commitments to cut carbon emissions from the country. Trudeau promised that Canada “will be there to support the world” as it moves away from Russian energy imports.

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

Meanwhile, the three leaders appeared to recognize the need to bolster defense spending, with Johnson stressing “we can’t go back to the status quo ante like we did after the Crimea invasion…we need a new focus on our Safety collective.”

Rutte promised: “The Netherlands will spend a lot of extra money on defence.”

The three countries announced that they would lead an “International Ukraine Support Group” to coordinate international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people.


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