An Irish MEP has called on European countries to stop importing “blood oil and gas” from Russia, amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher was part of a European Parliament motion, passed this morning, which called for a full Russian embargo on gas, oil and coal.
Mr Kelleher told BreakingNews.ie: “Russian gas is funding Putin’s war regime in Ukraine, and we can see evidence on our televisions every night of the week of the appalling atrocities being inflicted on the Ukrainian people. “
He said the latest round of sanctions does not go far enough in targeting Russian funds.
“We need to act faster, and the sanctions announced today are just another set of weak and tasteless sanctions when we need the power to act, and which will fundamentally cripple Putin’s ability to wage war.”
Germany, one of Europe’s biggest economies, is hugely dependent on Russian gas and Mr Kelleher called on the country to play its part in the sanctions against Russia.
“I would like to see Europe act in a uniform way. We need Germany to intervene, they have a moral obligation here to cut our ties with Russian gas. I think that if the European Commission and the Member States put their collective mind to that, they would be able to cushion the impact that stopping our use of Russian gas and oil would have on economies and on families in terms of potential increases in energy costs.”
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck recently suggested the country could completely cut off Russian gas by 2024, but Kelleher said immediate action was needed.
Ukrainians can’t wait, people living in bomb shelters are being bombarded day after day.
“The Commission can wait, the German Minister of Economy can wait, the Ukrainians cannot wait, the people who live in bomb shelters and who are bombed day after day in Mariupol or Kharkiv or in cities in the north from kyiv can not wait.
“We must do everything possible to impose sanctions on the use of gas. I would say to Germany that with our collective capacity, we can buy LNG from other parts of the world to alleviate our dependence on screw Russian gas, and now is a good time to start this process because we are coming to summer.”
He added: “Our dependence on gas will be less essential from a national point of view, so now is the right time, and we have six or eight months until the depths of next winter. I would be confident with our ability, our ingenuity and the support of other member states, we can wean countries off their dependence on Russia.”
He said the current sanctions are not having enough impact on the Russian economy.
“Europe buys gas from Russia for around 700-800 million euros a day, the seizure of a ship in the Mediterranean is of no material importance for the Russian economy.
“We need to make sure we stop buying gas and oil from Russia and that would quickly weaken Putin’s ability to pay for these war crimes.”
While severing Russian gas ties with Europe would have a big impact on soaring energy prices, Kelleher is confident that member states can come together to offset these problems.
Dependence on Russia
“Our dependence on gas will be less essential from a national point of view, so now is the right time, and we have six or eight months until the depths of next winter. I would be confident in our ability, our ingenuity and the support of other member states, we can wean countries off their dependence on Russia.
“We need to financially bring the Russian military industry complex to its knees.”
Mr Kelleher recently visited Ukraine and described the devastation of the soil as a “humbling” experience.
“To see firsthand an entire nation mobilizing, women and children marching west towards European borders to take refuge with fear and terror in their eyes, and seeing young men boarding buses and trains and heading east to the front to fight to defend their homes, family and country, it was a very moving and moving experience.
“The European Parliament sits in Strasbourg and Brussels, some parts of Ukraine are closer to there than some parts of the European Union.
“They are our neighbours, and we are obligated to ensure that Russia does not have the ability to extract money from the European Union because our addiction to blood gas is blood gas. and blood oil, we must wean ourselves off before Russia destroys Ukraine and continues its war crimes.”