Europe must play its key role in starving the Russian war machine

(EurActiv, 21 Apr 2022) According to some estimates, switching off the Russian oil and gas pump for just two months may be sufficient to starve the war machine of resources and force Russia to abandon its aggressive war, writes Kateryna Markevych.

Kateryna Markevych is a Leading Expert on Economic & Social Programs, Razumkov Centre, Ukraine

On February 24, Russia unleashed the war aimed at the total annihilation of the Ukrainians. Every passing day brings artillery attacks, aerial bombings, and blockades of Ukrainian cities. The world continues to receive shocking news of atrocities committed by Russian soldiers against civilians. Hundreds were tortured and killed by gunshots to the head in Bucha and Irpin. Thousands died under rubble and from shrapnel wounds in Irpin, Borodyanka, Kharkiv, Izum, Chernihiv, Sumy, and dozens of small towns around Ukraine. Many cases of rape of women and children both girls and boys are recorded by the International Criminal Court prosecutor.

The civilized world including the EU condemned Russia`s aggressive actions. However, paradoxically, European countries continue to support the aggressor financially by buying Russian energy resources. According to the IEA, Russia’s revenue from energy resource exports based on present market prices is more than $1.1 billion a day. This can buy around 160 Kalibr cruise missiles or 95 Su-25 fighter-bombers both used to level Ukrainian cities with the ground.

Outraged by the brutal and unprovoked invasion and shocked by the evidence of war crimes against Ukrainians, many countries have already imposed sanctions of varying severity against Russia creating challenges for its banking and industrial sector and crippling its military production. Sanctions against the Russian Central Bank resulted in approximately 60% of the country’s total foreign exchange reserves or $380 billion being frozen. Consequently, the repayment of foreign currency debts and maintaining of the fiscal solvency of the state present challenges.

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EurActiv, 21 Apr 2022: Europe must play its key role in starving the Russian war machine