Irish MEP calls on Europe to sever ties to Russian 'blood gas'

An Irish MEP has called on European countries to stop importing "blood oil and gas" from Russia, amid the country's invasion of Ukraine. 
Irish MEP calls on Europe to sever ties to Russian 'blood gas'

James Cox

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 energy 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 the evidence on our televisions every night of the week, the appalling atrocities that are being inflicted on the Ukrainian people."

He said the latest round of sanctions do not go far enough in targeting Russian funds.

"We need to act more swiftly and the sanctions announced today are just another round of weak, insipid sanctions when we need strength of purpose, and one that 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 role in sanctions against Russia.

"I would like to see Europe act in uniformity. We do need Germany to step up to the plate, they have a moral obligation here to sever our ties with Russian gas. I believe if the European Commission and member states put their collective mind to it, they would be able to cushion the impact that severing 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 cut Russian gas off completely by 2024, but Mr Kelleher said immediate action is required.

Ukrainians can't wait, people who are living in bomb shelters, being shelled day in day out.

"The Commission can wait, the Germany economy minister can wait, Ukrainians can't wait, people who are living in bomb shelters and being shelled day-in-day-out in Mariupol or Kharkiv or in towns north of Kyiv can't wait.

"We do need to make every effort to bring forward sanctions on gas use. I would say to Germany with our collective ability we can purchase LNG from other parts of the world to lighten our dependence on Russian gas, and it is a good time to start that process because we are coming into the summer."

He added: "Our dependence on gas will be less essential from a domestic perspective, so now is the right time, and we have six or eight months till the depths of next winter. I would be confident with our ability and ingenuity and support from others member states we can wean countries off its dependence on Russia."

He said the current sanctions are not doing enough to impact Russia's economy.

"Europe is purchasing gas from Russia at about €700 million to €800 million a day, seizing a boat in the Mediterranean is of no material significance to the Russia economy.

"We need to ensure we stop the purchase of gas and oil from Russia and that would quickly debilitate Putin's ability to pay for these war crimes."

While severing Russian gas ties to Europe would have a big impact on already soaring energy prices, Mr Kelleher is confident member states can pool together to offset these issues.

Dependence on Russia

"Our dependence on gas will be less essential from a domestic perspective, so now is the right time, and we have six or eight months till the depths of next winter. I would be confident with our ability and ingenuity and support from others member states we can wean countries off its dependence on Russia.

"We need to bring Russia's military industry complex to its knees financially."

Mr Kelleher recently visited Ukraine, and he described seeing the devastation in the ground as a "humbling" experience.

"To see first-hand an entire nation mobilising, women and children walking west towards European borders for sanctuary with fear and terror in their eyes, and to see young men getting on buses and trains and heading east to the front to fight to defend their homes, family and country, it was a very humbling and emotional experience.

"The European Parliament sits in Strasbourg and Brussels, parts of Ukraine are closer to there than parts of the European Union.

"They're our neighbours, and we're obligated to make sure Russia does not have the ability to extract money from the European Union because our dependence on blood gas, it's blood gas and blood oil, we must wean ourselves off it before Russia destroys Ukraine and continues its war crimes."

 

 

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