While Europeans have been saying since the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine that they want to reduce their dependence on Russian energy, Vladimir Putin responds by indicating that he is considering where to direct his exports. “We assume that deliveries to the West will decrease in the future”said the Russian President. So must “to realign our exports to the strongly growing markets in the south and east”, he declared on Thursday, April 14, during a government meeting dedicated to the energy sector in the context of international sanctions.
“Opportunities, options and alternative possibilities are opening up to us. As for Russian oil, gas and coal, we will be able to increase their consumption on the domestic market (…) and increase the supply of energy resources to other regions of the world that really need them.” Vladimir Putin had already said that the day before.
The Russian President believes that European speeches ” destabilize the market and drive up prices. He still wants to be confident: Of course, that causes difficulties for us, but we have the resources and the possibilities to find alternative solutions quickly.” he claimed.
For Vladimir Putin “Attempts by Western countries to oust Russian suppliers, to replace our energy resources with alternative sources, will inevitably impact the entire global economy.”making sure “The consequences of such a step can be very painful, especially for the initiators of such a policy.”
A not new “Turn to Asia”
Vladimir Putin has not indicated which countries he has in mind when he speaks of South and East, but China, whose appetite for hydrocarbons continues to grow, shares a border with Russia. However, Beijing has a reputation for being a difficult negotiating partner and Russia is trying to look beyond that neighbour.
Russia started doing this a few years ago “Move to Asia”. “This Russian vision is not new”, recently confirmed to La Tribune Jacques Sapir, principal investigator at EHESS (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences) and foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“Russia’s energy strategy for 2030, then 2040, was adopted in 2010. And each version insisted a little more on turning to Asia to reduce Russia’s exports’ dependence on Europe. With Vladimir Putin, there was always the idea of reducing his dependence on western countries and the United States, but mainly on European countries.” points to Jacques Sapir.
The US is focused on enforcing sanctions
This call by the Russian president to develop new outlets for Russian fossil fuels comes as Europeans consider expanding sanctions on Moscow’s hydrocarbons in response to military intervention in Ukraine. Russian oil and gas, which continues to flow to Europe – its first market – provides important revenues for Moscow. The EU, US and Japan have already announced an embargo on Russian coal, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has indicated that she will propose a target of becoming independent from the EU over Russian fossil fuels by 2027.
In any case, the United States believes it has scored “Serious Penalties” against Russia and are focused on their execution, particularly on fighting any attempt to “circumvent”, that is, the risk of Russia circumventing the measures imposed by the United States, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan pointed out this Thursday the 14th Symposium . “We will have announcements over the next two weeks identifying targets attempting to facilitate this escape both in Russia and beyond,” he explained.
The National Security Advisor also assured that the Russian oligarchs’ wealth is now frozen because of the sanctions, such as their yachts or financial assets: “Our goal is not to give them back” to their owners at the end of the conflict, but “to make better use of them”. And to add: “There are opportunities that we already have and others that we might be able to develop, and we are actively considering them.”
Some US lawmakers have already called for the sale or liquidation of sanctions-hit Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.