The US and the EU have reached”a broad consensus on the need to increase pressure on the Kremlin” through the deployment of more sanctions, the Italian government announced on Tuesday, adding that the allies also agreed on the need to “increase Moscow’s international isolation” during a virtual meeting between the US and heads of European countries about the final phase of the war in Ukraine.
†We will increase our sanctions against Russia againEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed in a tweet.
It is not clear exactly what sanctions are planned, although the energy industry is expected to be the most likely target. The conference participants made it a point to share their “common commitment to diversify energy resources by reducing dependence on Russian supplies in this way”, according to the Italian press release.
Russia has already been shut down by most western companies, from technology platforms to fast food restaurants, but oil and gas sales to Europe continue as many EU countries have been unable to find enough supplies to offset the 40% of the gas that the continental alliance buys from Russia.
That hasn’t stopped the US — which became energy independent under former President Donald Trump — from urging the EU to join its crusade against Moscow’s energy industry, promising to fill the gap with US liquefied natural gas. – a much more expensive fuel that most European countries lack the infrastructure to store large quantities.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced on Tuesday that he hopedconvince“his country’s more reticent neighbors of the need for a total embargo on Russian oil imports, blaming unnamed nations for”still doubtingand complaining can take weeks to reach consensus on the subject. Germany, in particular, is strongly opposed to the idea and warned that the country would enter a major recession.
However, the EU is optimistic about its ability to get rid of Russian gas and claims to be able to cut fuel consumption by two-thirds by the end of the year. According to the EU’s executive committee, replacement fuel would be supplied from Norway and Azerbaijan, imported from the US and generated locally through extensive green energy projects. The EU currently sends about $850 million (€650 million) to Russia a day for oil and gas, even while imposing sanctions on most other Russian industries.
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In addition to Von der Leyen, at the virtual conference were US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Polish President Andrzej Duda , Romanian President Klaus Iohannis , Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President of the European Council Charles Michel.