The EU is reportedly drafting up plans to permanently slash energy ties with Russia, which currently supplies it with 40 percent of its gas. According to a leaked document seen ahead of an “informal meeting “on Thursday, the 27 EU members have “agreed to phase out all use of Russian gas and oil” through tough measures. For Dr Jack Sharples, Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute, sanctioning Russia’s energy sector must go further than threats.
He told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee: “We need to be really clear. If we are going to apply sanctions to Russian oil and gas we need to do it in a clear and coordinated fashion.
“If each country starts talking about sanctions, actually we are achieving the complete opposite of what we’re hoping to achieve by actually funding the Russian military.”
His comments came as energy prices soared after following comments on the plans from the West.
The West has already placed harsh measures designed to batter the Russian economy, such as targeting banks and removing Russia from the SWIFT payment system.
But until now, the EU had been hesitant to attack Russia’s energy sector as the bloc still gets 40 percent of its gas from Russia.
But a sense of urgency over the brutality of the war appears to have sparked a change in the bloc.
Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis warned that Putin’s aggression may not stop at Ukraine’s borders, with the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania potentially next in line.
He suggested that any form of sanctions should come into play, regardless of whether that puts the bloc at risk.
He said: “What other trigger do we need? There’s a full-blown war, Russia is committing war crimes on an industrial scale, what more do we need?”
“Russia is now undertaking unprovoked and illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine so [what is the point of] us worrying about provoking Russia when it started an unprovoked war?”
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He said: “Nothing is off the table … The barbarism that Putin is now showing in Ukraine needs to be met with resolve, and also with measures that hurt him, even if they might hurt us as well.”
But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pushed back against calls to ban Russian oil and gas imports.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the US is in talks with the EU over banning oil imports from Russia.
The comments sent Brent Crude oil prices up 18 percent at one stage reach its highest point in 14 years.
Meanwhile, gas prices in the UK for contract for delivery next month reached a record 800p per therm.
Prices were typically below 50p per therm a year ago.