Russian oil and gas embargo could stop war within weeks, says former Putin adviser
An effective embargo on oil and gas imports from Russia could force an end to the country’s war against Ukraine within eight weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former chief economic adviser told the BBC.
If Western countries “would try to implement a real embargo on oil and gas exports from Russia … I would bet that probably within a month or two, Russian military operations in Ukraine, probably will be ceased, will be stopped,” said Andrey Illarionov. “It’s one of the very effective instruments still in the possession of the Western countries.”
Illarionov was a top adviser and Putin’s G8 representative from 2000 and 2005, when he resigned in protest of Russian troops’ storming the Beslan school in 2004 when it was held by Chechen rebels, leading to the death of 333 civilians.
Calls to add Russian oil and gas to Western sanctions have grown louder as atrocities committed by Russian troops in the area around Kyiv have shocked the world. Kyiv has repeatedly accused the West of financing Russia’s war by continuing to buy Russian energy. The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said the EU pays Putin a billion euro every day for the energy.
Earlier this week an overwhelming majority of European lawmakers demanded an “immediate full embargo” on Russian oil, gas and coal. But while the EU banned the import of Russian coal on Friday, and a number of European governments, including France, Italy, Poland and the Baltics are on board with further sanctions, Germany has repeatedly ruled out an immediate embargo on Russian gas imports, as has Hungary, both citing negative economic consequences for their citizens. Even an end to oil imports from Russia is unlikely before year-end.
In the BBC interview, he also argued that a change of government is inevitable “sooner or later” as “it is absolutely impossible to have any positive future for Russia with the current political regime.”