Monday

26th Oct 2020

Russia threatens Europe with higher energy prices

  • EU imports 30 percent of its gas from Russia (Photo: jiva)

Russia on Wednesday (30 July) reacted angrily to the EU economic sanctions, threatening to increase energy prices.

“Obsessed with sanctions, Brussels is itself creating barriers for further cooperation in such a key sector as energy industry,” the Russian foreign ministry said in statement.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“It is a senseless and irresponsible step, which will inevitably cause European energy market prices to rise,” the statement said.

The ministry added that the economies of Russia and the EU are interlinked and that the "stage three" sanctions will affect the economic situation in the EU "not less than in Russia".

Some 30 percent of the overall EU gas consumption is covered by Russian gas imports, but some eastern member states are up to 90 percent dependent on Russia.

The possible retaliation in the energy sector was factored in when the EU decided to adopt economic sanctions, which will enter into force Friday.

As for the arms embargo also due to enter into force Friday, Russia said it was "perplexed" since it "does not take part in the military conflict in Ukraine."

Moscow also accused the EU of being influenced too much by the US: “It’s a shame that after having long searched for its own ‘single voice,’ the EU now speaks Washington’s voice.”

The US has released intelligence showing that Russia continues to arm the pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine and said it believed YouTube audiotapes of rebels talking about shooting down a passenger plane were authentic.

The Russian foreign ministry however said current EU foreign policy is not based on facts, but defined by Washington who is “watching questionable YouTube videos”.

“Of course, we will take into consideration the current non-constructive and non-independent behaviour of the EU when building our relations,” it concluded.

The statement comes after the EU late Wednesday published eight new names, including three of President Vladimir Putin's closest oligarch friends, to a travel ban and asset freeze list.

The EU also blacklisted Almaz-Antey, the arms manufacturer which produced the missiles believed responsible for the downing of the Malyasia Airlines MH17 flight, in which almost 300 people, mostly EU citizens, were killed.

Later on Thursday, the EU official journal is expected to publish the list of Russian state-owned banks which will be cut off from EU financial markets.

“It’s very unfortunate. It’s not a good day for Russia. I’m concerned [the Russian government] will do something back and start nationalising things like Exxon in Sakhalin," a senior executive at one of the targeted banks told Reuters.

So far, the only EU producers hit by a Russian import ban are Polish apple growers, who sell more than half of their exports to Russia. Moscow claims the ban is for sanitary reasons and is not linked to the economic sanctions, but it added that it will look into other EU producers as well, with Dutch farmers also expected to be hit.

Meanwhile, at the crash site in eastern Ukraine, international investigators were still denied access as heavy fighting was ongoing between government forces and rebels.

Kiev accused the pro-Russian rebels on Wednesday planting land mines on the way to the crash site in order to prevent access to the site.

"They have brought a large number of heavy artillery there and mined approaches to this area. This makes impossible the work of international experts trying to start work to establish the reasons behind the Boeing 777 crash," said Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko, as quoted by Reuters.

The leaders of the seven most industrialised nations (G7) on Wednesday called on all sides to establish a ceasefire and grant access to the crash site.

US joins EU on Russia economic sanctions

The US on Tuesday announced a widening of its own Russia sanctions to match the EU's economic sanctions adopted just a few hours previously.

EU blacklists three Putin 'cronies'

The EU has for the first time included three of Vladimir Putin's loyal oligarchs and his propaganda chief on an existing blacklist in response to Russia's continued "destabilisation" of Ukraine.

EU Commission rejects retaliatory visas for US citizens

European Parliament demands to impose visas on visitors from the United States were cast aside by the European Commission. Bulgarians, Croatian, Cypriots and Romanians still require a short-stay visa to enter the United States. MEPs say it is discriminatory.

News in Brief

  1. EU capital bans Halloween festivities due to corona
  2. Belarus: 11th weekend in a row of mass protests
  3. MEPs back vegetarian 'burgers' and 'sausages'
  4. Macron: Pandemic to last until next summer
  5. Czech health minister sacked in corona violation
  6. Johnson waiting for US election in Brexit talks
  7. Europe's Jewish population continues decline
  8. Report: EU border agency flouts law to help Greece

Column

A 'geopolitical' EU Commission. Great idea - but when?

Safeguarding Europe's position starts with recognising the unpleasant reality that Europe's power is waning. Behind the facade of European cooperation, national self-interest still predominates and that has never been any different.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Erdoğan whips up Muslim hate against Macron
  2. Gruelling Brexit and budget talks continue This WEEK
  3. Ministers back EU-wide 2050 climate goal, not by country
  4. The German mayor now facing US sanctions over Nord Stream
  5. EU Commission rejects retaliatory visas for US citizens
  6. Feminists target Polish churches in abortion 'revolution'
  7. South Caucasus death toll much worse than feared
  8. Polish court effectively bans legal abortions

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us