Coordinated energy sanctions, including Russian oil ban, still ‘very much on the table’
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Europe cannot secure its energy supplies without imports from Russia.
Energy was deliberately excluded from previous rounds of sanctions, Scholz said in a press release on Monday, adding that Russia’s energy is of “essential importance” to the general daily life of its citizens.
Meanwhile, Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said his government would not support any sanctions against Russian energy.
In a Facebook video posted on Monday, he spoke of the extensive damage that existing sanctions against Russia have caused to its economy.
“Those who call for the extension of sanctions want the Hungarian people to pay the price of war.”
Remember: The EU depends on Russia for 40% of its gas needs and around 27% of its oil imports.
Asked about the potential for sanctions against Russian energy at a press conference on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said options that were unthinkable three weeks ago are now “fully on the table”. .
“We need to think about how we can all get away from dependence, dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, Russian oil and gas as quickly as possible. Everyone does that. Everyone is on the same course. Some countries will find it faster and easier than others,” he added.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN the United States was working with its allies in Europe to explore the possibility of banning imports of Russian oil in a bid to further punish the country.
The fallout from a Russian oil import ban would have limited impact in the United States given that Russia accounts for less than 2% of its global oil imports.