Volodymyr Zelensky gives dire warnings ahead of ally NATO, EU summit

Ukraine is urging its Western partners to tighten the economic crackdown on Russia at Thursday’s extraordinary NATO, EU and G7 summit in Brussels, warning that Kyiv has no backup plan if its backers of Moscow’s vital energy Do not obstruct exports.

NATO and the European Union are working to support Ukraine with weapons, intelligence sharing and unprecedented sanctions on Russia. But Russian energy exports – particularly its oil and natural gas – have so far been exempt, providing Moscow with a financial lifeline and continued funding for Ukraine’s brutal invasion.

Oleg Ustenko, economic adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, told newsweek That oil and gas export—which accounts for about 40 percent of Russia’s federal budget—is Moscow’s Achilles heel.

“They are in dire need of money,” Ustenko said of the invading Russians. “They are using this money to kill our people, destroy our country, kill innocent children, civilians.”

Those who continue to trade with Russia, Ustenko said, are funding war crimes committed on the Ukrainian people.

“If you’re able to cut Russia from 40 percent of its budget revenue — which is spent on buying missiles and financing military machines — you’re going to change the rules of the game,” Ustenko said.

“That’s why we’re so aggressive in it, and that’s why we’re so angry.”

For all their public support of Ukraine, the major European powers are pushing against proposed energy sanctions. Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary are the most resistant, causing deep frustration in Kyiv.

President Joe Biden went to Brussels on Thursday and had already banned US imports of all Russian energy. The president will be hoping to persuade his European allies to follow suit, although he may have to compromise; For example, a medium to long-term commitment from EU powers to end Russian energy imports.

But it takes time Ukrainians say they don’t have to. Oil, in particular, should be banned immediately, Ustenko said: “It is certainly not acceptable.

“We want this to be stopped immediately. We do not support the idea that we will continue to discuss … it should be done immediately during President Biden’s visit.”

There is little chance of an EU-wide ban on Russian oil being agreed on Thursday. Ustenko said Kyiv expected success given the consequences of Ukraine’s existence.

“We think they’re going to agree on that, that’s our expectation,” he said. “We don’t have a Plan B. This is our plan. And we hope we’ll be heard.”

Weaning Europe from Russian gas will take longer, Ustenko acknowledged, but added that it must be done faster than in countries like Germany.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned this week that immediate energy sanctions would plunge Germany into a recession that would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Root suggested that immediate action is not realistic given European dependence on Russian exports.

There is little sympathy for this approach in war-torn Ukraine, where tens of thousands are already presumed dead and many cities have been ravaged by Russian artillery. Russian progress in all areas of aggression has stalled, but deaths and suspected war crimes continue.

“I personally do not like the situation in Germany,” said Ustenko.

“They’re talking about some potential hit to the economy — plus or minus 1 percent to GDP, or 0.5 percent to GDP — and the fact that it’s going to be a little bit cooler,” he said. Citing concerns, the cold snap would increase German demand for Russian energy.

“My people have already been underground for almost a month. The weather in Kyiv and Kharkiv is very cold.”

These measures would undermine European economies, but Ustenko argued they would also revive long-held ambitions to move away from Russian imports and accelerate the transition to green energy.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, President Joe Biden and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson are among those posing for a family photo at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2022. World leaders are meeting in Belgium to continue talks on how to support Ukraine’s defence. Russian invasion.
John Thies / AFP via Getty Images

“In the long run, it’s only going to have a positive effect,” he said. “And these positive effects are going to come out of a more stable, more predictable environment.”

Meanwhile, Ustenko said he believes other oil producers in the Middle East, Africa and South America will help pick up the slack.

The economic attack against Russia must adapt to Moscow’s efforts to evade the new sanctions. The Kremlin is well-versed in avoiding such measures, as it has been operating under Western sanctions since it annexed Crimea in 2014 and fueled a revolution in eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv wants its western partners to block Russian shipping from their ports, further reducing Moscow’s commercial access. Ustenko said such a move would limit Russia’s ability to circumvent sanctions.

“We suspect that some tankers carrying Kazakh oil are in fact not there,” he said. “In fact, they are not only carrying Kazakh oil. Our suspicion is that they also carry at least 10 percent Russian oil.”

With oil and gas prices at record highs, Moscow is doing everything possible to maintain attractive exports. “They are increasing the supply of oil around the world,” Ustenko said.

Ukraine appears to be reversing some Russian advances, most notably near the city of Mykolaiv in the south, around Kharkiv in the east and northwest of Kyiv, where Russian forces may soon find themselves surrounded.

But Russia is still ravaging Ukraine’s infrastructure and manufacturing base, while ruthlessly killing and killing hundreds of civilians. Ukraine’s resistance has been more powerful than most international observers had hoped – at least not Russian – but the country could still be overwhelmed, or at least broken, by the invaders.

“We really have two fronts,” explained Ustenko. “The First Front is on the ground where our brave soldiers and our brave terrorists are fighting against the Russian fascists.”

“But on the other hand, we have an economic front. And on this economic front, we cannot fight alone. We are counting on our allies—the EU countries and the US. We are counting on their support. So These restrictions are extremely important.”

“We are also appealing to the European public, ordinary citizens. They are on our side. They understand what is happening in our country. They understand the risks that are coming to Europe as well if we are able to fight are not.”

“Let’s do this together, the demilitarization of Russia. We must ensure that the measures we are implementing will completely cut them off from military machine funding and prevent them from killing innocent Ukrainians. Without your help, we would Haven’t been able to do that. That’s why.”

“Whoever is in this business with Russia is part of it,” said Ustenko, promising future consequences for those willing to break ties with Moscow.

“We’re going to win this war sooner or later. We’re going to be looking for every individual company that is now doing business with Russia, and sending this money that was used to murder our people.” Goes.”

Ukrainian Soldiers At An Outpost Near Kharkiv, Russia
A Ukrainian soldier smokes a cigarette at a checkpoint near Kharkiv on March 23, 2022.
Sergei Bobok / AFP via Getty Images

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: