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Should Europe Stop Paying for Putin’s War?

For citizens of states that are members of NATO, taking all possible steps, short of all-out war, to ensure that Russia does not conquer Ukraine is not an altruistic sacrifice. It is a long-term investment, for themselves and their children, in freedom, democracy, and the international rule of law.

MELBOURNE – Is it right for European countries to continue to pay Russia €1 billion ($1.1 billion) a day for energy when they know that they are funding Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine?

Last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that European countries prospering from Russian energy are “earning their money in other people’s blood.” Russia did not need to take peace talks seriously, he suggested, because of the billions it receives for its oil and gas exports. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former CEO of the Russian oil company Yukos, now in exile, told the BBC that an embargo on Russian oil and gas would be a serious blow to President Vladimir Putin, causing him “to lose over half his revenue.”

Yet no immediate cut-off is being considered. European Union Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said only that the EU would reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas by two-thirds by the end of the year, and to zero by 2027. And while Germany, the biggest European purchaser of Russian energy, has moved up its initial end-of-year timeline for halting oil imports to the end of this summer, with gas imports continuing, that may still be too late to help Ukraine.

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