- Ukraine’s finance minister has called for an immediate full energy embargo against Russia.
- Serhiy Marchenko told the BBC it would make it harder for Russia to finance its military needs.
- The US banned oil imports in April, while the EU proposed a ban on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s finance minister is calling for a full and immediate energy embargo to make it harder for Russia to finance its military needs.
Serhiy Marchenko spoke to BBC News about the embargo on Saturday.
President Joe Biden announced in early March that the US would ban Russian energy imports. Meanwhile, the EU has proposed a ban on Russian oil imports, including cutting out crude within six months, as part of the sweeping sanctions taken to put pressure on the Kremlin over the war in Ukraine.
Russia has halted its gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, which was dubbed “an instrument of blackmail,” by the European Commission’s chief.
Marchenko said in the interview: “Huge oil and gas prices help Russia to receive additional amounts to make their budget run with a surplus. In comparison, we are running [the country] with a very huge deficit in our budget.”
“I believe that a full embargo can make Russia suffer more than it is right now,” he added.
The US imports about 3% of Russian oil, while the EU imports about 40% – a third of the bloc’s supplies.
On Wednesday, EU’s President Ursula von der Leyen admitted it was “not easy to establish unity” among the 27 members but added that she was “confident” that an oil embargo could be agreed.
Von der Leyen said: “Let us be clear: it will not be easy. Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it. We now propose a ban on Russian oil. This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined.”
Marchenko told BBC News that the war meant his country was collecting less in taxes “because more than 20% of our businesses are fully closed. It means that we can’t manage to fulfill our necessary duty as a government without international support, or without just printing money.”
Russia has taken control of most of Ukraine’s port cities and without the country’s harbors available, the country cannot rely on its exports – Ukraine, before the war, was one of the world’s top producers of crops like sunflower, corn, and wheat.
Marchenko added that the principal issue for the country now is “how to unblock the seaports of Ukraine.”