The measure is set to enter into force next Monday, the 5th, along with the EU’s ban on Russian oil, in a new shift in sanctions applied since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine on Sept. 24.
The current cost of a barrel of Russian oil (Ural crude) is about $65, so capping it at $60 would have limited impact.
Zelensky criticized, according to the presidential office, “It is not a serious decision to set such a limit on the price of Russian oil, because it is convenient for the budget of the terrorist state (Russia).”
“The logical thing was to set a maximum price per barrel of Russian oil of $30, as proposed by Poland and the Baltic states,” Zelensky added.
The 27 countries of the European Union and the Group of Seven of the most developed economies and Australia agreed on Friday, the second, to impose a ceiling of 60 US dollars per barrel of oil from Russia, the second largest exporter of fuel in the world.
The Ukrainian authorities were more optimistic on Saturday morning about the repercussions of this measure.
Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of the Ukrainian presidency, said: “We always achieve our goal and the Russian economy will be destroyed. Russia will have to take responsibility for all its crimes.”
However, Yermak had already acknowledged that the ceiling “should have been lowered to $30 in order to destroy (the Russian economy) more quickly”. “It is only a matter of time before we equip ourselves with stronger tools,” said the Ukrainian president. “It is a pity that we are wasting time,” he added.
The G7 (the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan) has stated that it intends to “prevent Russia from benefiting from its war of aggression against Ukraine and to support stability in global energy markets.”
But Russia adamantly rejected the restrictions. “We will not accept this ceiling,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, before adding that Moscow was “analyzing” the measure.
The Russian bombardment in recent weeks on the infrastructure of the energy sector in Ukraine has deprived millions of families of electricity, water and heating, at a time when temperatures are low with the approach of winter (Northern Hemisphere, summer in Brazil). “We have to endure,” Vitaly Kem, governor of the (southern) Mykolaiv region, said in a Telegram.
In Kherson (south), “the electricity networks, which were not working due to enemy bombing, are connected again” and “nearly 75% of the city has electricity again,” reports the head of the regional administration, Yaroslav Yanushevich.
The Kremlin said on Friday that Putin considered the bombings “necessary and inevitable in the face of provocative attacks from Kyiv”.
Putin again complained, in a conversation with the head of the German government, Olaf Scholz, about the financial and military support that allowed Ukraine to inflict humiliating defeats on Russia in the largest conflict on the European continent since the end of World War II. But the Ukrainian counterattack, apparently, stopped moving at the same speed.
Luhansk region governor Sergei Gaidai said the fighting was particularly “fierce” in the east of the country because “the Russians had time to prepare” after setbacks in recent months.
A Ukrainian army statement said the situation was also “difficult” near Pakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.
The Russians had been trying to occupy this position for several months and the control of this position would constitute a victory for Moscow after the recent defeats.
Donetsk is part of the Donbass basin, which Russia announced its annexation in early October, although it has not yet been able to fully occupy it.
Peskov said on Saturday that Putin plans to pay a visit to Donetsk “at the appropriate time,” insisting that Moscow is “a region of the Russian Federation.”
US President Joe Biden said on Thursday he was “ready to talk” to Putin, but only if the Russian president sought “a way to end the war” and withdraw his troops from the country.
Peskov replied that Russia rejects the conditions, and the Ukrainian government rejects any negotiations with Putin if he does not respect its territorial integrity, which includes Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he would speak by phone with Putin “soon” about the safety of Ukraine’s “civilian nuclear” infrastructure. He will also speak tomorrow, Sunday, with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentine Rafael Grossi.
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