PanamaTimes

Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

0:00
0:00

EU is sabotaging itself with Russian oil sanctions, Khodorkovsky warns

The Putin critic says Europe is harming its own finances when it should be pouring cash into arms for Kyiv.
Russian oil tycoon-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Tuesday accused the EU of committing a massive blunder with oil sanctions against Moscow that are now undermining the 27-nation bloc economically rather than depleting the Kremlin's war chest.

Russia's former richest man said the EU should have secured alternative supplies before moving ahead with an embargo, or should have considered another approach entirely such as slapping tariffs on Russian energy rather than imposing an outright ban. By drilling a hole in its own finances, Khodorkovsky argued that Europe was now less able to pour cash into the all-important task of buying more weapons for Ukraine.

After one month of negotiations, EU member countries agreed to ban seaborne shipments of oil from Russia by the end of this year — equivalent to over 90 percent of imports — in late May.

“At the moment, energy sanctions are hurting Europe, not Russia," he said, speaking to POLITICO during his first trip to the EU since the war in Ukraine began. "My point of view was and remains the same — what on earth are you doing?"

Khodorkovsky, the former head of oil giant Yukos, spent 10 years in prison on what were widely seen as trumped-up charges after he became an outspoken critic of the Kremlin. Following his release in 2013, Khodorkovsky has campaigned to promote democracy and human rights in Russia through his Open Russia organization.

“The problem is that current Western politicians have never held talks with a gangster,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “You can only start negotiating with him when he feels like he's in a weaker position."

Khodorkovsky, in Brussels for two days of meetings with EU officials and others organized by the Bratislava-based think tank GLOBSEC, argues the bloc could have better spent its cash on arms for Ukraine.

“How much has the West lost in revenue by introducing all kinds of energy sanctions? $100 billion, $200 billion?" he said. “Had Ukraine got at least $50 billion worth of weapons instead of $10 billion, the situation would be completely different now — without any energy sanctions being introduced.”

The EU marked down its growth predictions for this year by around 1 percent in April amid the war in Ukraine — equivalent to around €160 billion, based on recent GDP estimates from the International Monetary Fund. Meanwhile, the bloc is putting €2 billion toward arms for Ukraine.

In line with Khodorkovsky's thinking, several experts have argued that imposing tariffs would have been smart since redirecting oil to other countries with the infrastructure currently in place would have been difficult for Moscow. This means Russian energy companies would likely have absorbed the higher export costs to Europe, reducing their margins and ultimately cutting into Moscow's military budget.

Finally, the former billionaire said Europe should have made more concerted efforts to find alternative supplies for its oil and gas well before imposing sanctions. Instead, EU countries have had to replace Russian energy supplies by hurriedly negotiating ad hoc contracts.

“I was amazed when I discovered that there had been no agreement on any alternative supplies and then and [now] you're introducing sanctions?” Khodorkovsky said.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×