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Europe Is Its Own Enemy in Ukraine

Since invading its neighbor on February 24, Russia has received over €50 billion from Europe, more than ten times what the West has provided in cash and equipment to Ukraine. No European in their right mind should want to continue financing Putin’s war.

WASHINGTON, DC – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently accused the West of fighting a proxy war in Ukraine. This is inaccurate and misleading. In fact, the West is supporting both sides of this conflict – and Russia is by far the main beneficiary. Since launching its invasion, Russia has received over €50 billion ($52.7 billion) from Europe, more than ten times what the West has provided in cash and equipment to Ukraine.

Europe is fighting a war against itself in Ukraine, and the only way to end it is to stop all oil imports from Russia immediately for at least 45 days, and perhaps longer, and to allow them to resume only under a properly structured system of sanctions that includes tight restrictions. International Energy Agency members have about 1.5 billion barrels of emergency fuel supplies – more than enough to manage the transition.

The core problem, of course, is that some European Union countries have become very heavily dependent on Russian hydrocarbons. Europe buys about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day on average from Russia. A few EU countries also buy much of their natural gas from Russia. Consequently, when Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, some EU countries threw up their hands and said, in effect, there is nothing we can do about Russian energy exports. According to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a Finnish research group, Russian revenue from its fossil-fuel exports may have doubled since the invasion.

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