Western countries are buying around $1bn (£765m) worth of oil, gas and coal from Russia, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused these nations of “funding the murders of Ukrainians”. Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s former economic policy adviser, said energy sanctions are the only thing that can “affect Putin’s decision-making process” unless there is increased and full military support from all nations.
Speaking to LBC, Mr Illarionov said: “This is probably the most important decision that can affect Putin’s decision-making process.
“Right now, Putin receives around $1 billion a day for exporting energy from Russia to Western Europe and other countries.
“With such resources that he receives from the West, he can continue this war for a very, very long time.
Asked by LBC host Eddie Mair about the economic impact on Western Europe of stopping the use of Russian energy, the former adviser to Putin gave a chilling answer.
He said, “You have to choose: Would you like to continue this bloodbath or have economic problems?”
While a number of financial sanctions have been imposed on Russian oligarchs, Mr Illarionov said these measures will make little difference for Putin.
Around 40% of natural gas imports by EU Member States come from Russia, with Germany being among the most dependent.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Germany has given more than £29 billion in EU revenue to Russia in exchange for energy.
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On Tuesday, the European Commission proposed plans to end Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels before 2030, starting with gas.
But Putin said mockingly on Thursday that Western countries “cannot do without Russian energy resources”.
He said: “What is amazing is that the so-called partners of the hostile countries admit to themselves that they cannot do without Russian energy resources”.
The Russian president then claimed that projects to redirect energy to the east were already underway with countries like India and China.