Foreign Secretary Liz Truss unveiled an agreement by Western powers to begin the process of weaning dependency on Russian oil and gas this week, as nations seek to further isolate Moscow over the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Ms Truss said NATO allies had been “very coordinated on sanctions, we’ve shown huge unity. It’s having a big effect in Russia, but we now need to do more”.
Speaking in Brussels at a meeting of NATO members, Ms Truss said: “We particularly need to look at the oil and gas sector, how do we reduce our dependence across Europe on Russian gas, how do we cut off the funding to Vladimir Putin’s war machine?”
Recent reports showed millions of pounds from Western nations still flooding into Russia – the world’s second-largest exporter of crude oil – for its energy, despite wide-ranging sanctions.
Russian companies, banks and individuals have all been hit with sanctions, although energy has been largely exempt to try and prevent prices spiralling even higher in Europe, already beset by record-high prices in 2022.
Russia supplies about 40 percent of Europe’s gas, and while the UK only relies on Russian gas for about four percent of its supply, imports and exports to and from European markets mean prices follow those on the continent.
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Gas to Europe is currently flowing as normal, but experts have wanted that energy will be increasingly weaponised as the conflict intensifies and Europe begins to try reduce its dependency.
The markets have already reflected this – on Friday, the price of wholesale gas jumped to 508pence per therm during the day – more than ten times the average – before steadying slightly at 465pence per therm.
Brent crude climbed almost four percent to $114.63 per barrel while petrol pump prices are now at 153.50 pence per litre, with the RAC warning price could rise.
So what do you think? Are you willing to pay higher prices to cut off Russia? Do you think it’s worth it? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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