EU Introducing 'Suicidal' Sanctions on Russian Oil and Gas Under Pressure From US Overlords: Putin
12:20 GMT 17.05.2022 (Updated: 13:09 GMT 17.05.2022)
Brussels has been attempting to push through a new, sixth package of sanctions against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine, with the measures including an embargo on Russian oil. Hungary has resisted the idea, demanding compensation and comparing the economic impact of the hypothetical loss of Russian energy supplies to an "atomic bomb."
The European Union is introducing sanctions against the Russian oil and gas sector for "absolutely political reasons" and under pressure from the bloc's American overlords, notwithstanding the impact on its collective economic competitiveness, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
"Rejection of Russian energy resources means that Europe will systemically become the region with the highest energy costs in the world. Yes, of course prices will rise and resources will go to this region, but it will not be possible to radically alter the situation. This will seriously - and according to some experts irrevocably - undermine the competitiveness of a significant part of European industry, which is already losing the competition to companies in other regions of the world," Putin said, speaking at a meeting with officials devoted to energy issues on Tuesday.
Putin suggested that Western political class had speculated "on the absolutely natural concerns of many people on the plant with climate issues," downplaying the importance of traditional, hydrocarbon sources of energy, while simultaneously overestimating the effectiveness of alternative energy in filling the gap.
This, he said, helped to spark the current energy crunch that Western officials are now trying to blame on Russia.
"Today we see that for absolutely political reasons, due to their own ambitions and under pressure from their American overlords, European countries are imposing more and more sanctions on the oil and gas market. All of this causes inflation, and instead of admitting their mistakes, they are looking for the guilty party in another place," Putin said.
"One gets the impression that our Western colleagues, politicians and economists have simply forgotten the foundations of the elementary laws of economics, or, to their detriment, prefer to deliberately ignore them," Putin suggested.
"Obviously, together with Russian energy resources, economic activity will also be leaving Europe for other regions of the world. Such an economic auto-da-fe, or suicide, is of course the internal affair of European countries. We must proceed pragmatically and proceed primarily from our own economic interests," he added.
Putin called on authorities to "act proactively" in light of the "ill-conceived and chaotic" decisions being taken by some of Russia's Western "partners," and to use them to Moscow's advantage. He also warned that Russia should not expect the West to make such mistakes "endlessly."
Putin promised that the Russian state would do "everything that depends on us" to create the proper conditions for the work of domestic energy companies, ranging from improving logistical capabilities to providing a system of payment in national currencies and improving the availability of credit and insurance services, to stimulating the processing of raw materials and the creation of new domestic technologies.
He urged Russian oil companies not to sit on their assets - including revenues gained from rising energy prices, and said that the changes currently being experienced by the global oil market have a "tectonic nature," and that "doing business as before, according to the old model, of course, seems unlikely. In the new conditions, it is important not only to extract oil, but to build the entire vertical chain up to the end consumer."
Countries worldwide have experienced economic shocks associated with rising energy costs over the past year, with the United States and the the European Union bearing the brunt of the burden, particularly after regional leaders began slapping sanctions and other restrictions on Russian oil and gas amid the crisis in Ukraine starting in February. Many EU countries depend on Russian gas for more 40 percent or more of their natural gas needs and a similar amount of oil. In the wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the bloc has promised to replace supplies from Russia with fuel sourced from the US, Africa and the Middle East, and to ramp up investments in alternative energy. However, economists, businesses and opposition leaders have warned that these measures won't save the region from a recession, a depression, or worse - its deindustrialization amid the intensifying global economic competition between China and the United States.