guriev3_Igor Grussakpicture alliance via Getty Images_russian oil Igor Grussak/picture alliance via Getty Images

Europe’s Oil Embargo Is Not Enough

By announcing an embargo on about 90% of Russian oil imports within the next 6-8 months, the European Union is hitting Russian President Vladimir Putin where it hurts. But, unless Europe also imposes an immediate price cap on Russian energy imports, Putin will spend the next several months benefiting from sharply higher oil prices.

PARIS – Vladimir Putin needs petrodollars, and he needs them now. Many expected Russia’s president to issue a formal declaration of war on Ukraine, a move that would permit the full mobilization of Russia’s reserve forces. But while Putin may want to send more soldiers to Ukraine, he cannot afford to do so. Will the European Union’s newly announced oil embargo force him to wind down the invasion?

Already, the Kremlin has toned down its propaganda. There is no more talk of taking Kyiv. Putin’s only goal now, apparently, is to occupy the eastern Donbas region. But even there, Putin is not guaranteed victory, as that is where Ukraine has launched its so-called Joint Forces Operation, which includes its best-trained military units – increasingly armed with advanced Western military equipment.

Russia, meanwhile, has lost much of its modern military equipment, and Western sanctions have left it unable to replenish its stocks. With few options, Russia is now unpacking Soviet-era tanks.