Russia has rejected a $60 price cap on its oil set by Ukraine’s western allies, warning of a backlash as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was “quite comfortable” for Moscow amid pressure from Kiev for a lower cap .
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday that Russia would not accept the price cap, adding that it should analyze the situation before deciding on a specific response.
The EU, G7 and Australia on Saturday approved the price cap of $60 per barrel for Russian oil by sea. It comes into effect on December 5.
“The G7 and all EU member states have taken a decision that will hit Russia’s revenue even harder and reduce the ability to wage war in Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.
“It will also help us stabilize global energy prices, which will benefit countries around the world currently facing high oil prices,” she said.
But Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, warned that the CAP’s European backers would regret their decision.
“From this year, Europe will live without Russian oil,” Ulyanov tweeted. “Moscow has already made it clear that it will not supply oil to those countries that support price caps against the market. Wait, very soon the EU will accuse Russia of using oil as a weapon.”
Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, reporting from Moscow, said Russia prepared for this decision in advance. “Russia knows it must use alternative infrastructure to export its oil to the countries that do not want to sign this decision,” Vall said.
However, Russia’s biggest oil buyers – China and India – have not committed to the oil ceiling.
Under Friday’s agreements, insurance companies and other firms tasked with shipping oil would only be able to deal with Russian crude if the price of the oil is at or below the limit. Most insurers are based in the EU and the UK and may be required to adhere to the cap.
Crude crude oil is already selling for about $60 a barrel, a big discount to the international benchmark Brent, which closed Friday at $85.42 a barrel.
The EU will also stop all imports of Russian petroleum products from February 5. A G7 price cap for petroleum products will also be set at a later date, using exactly the same mechanism as for crude oil, the Commission said.
The price cap is designed to put economic strain on Russia and its ability to fund a war that has killed untold numbers of civilians and combatants, displaced millions of Ukrainians from their homes and weighed on the global economy for more than nine months. to curtail.
The Ukrainian president said the $60 price cap is not “serious”.
“Russia has already inflicted huge losses on all countries of the world by deliberately destabilizing the energy market,” he argued in his evening speech, describing the price cap decision as “a position of weakness”.
It is “only a matter of time when stronger tools have to be used anyway,” Zelenskyy added. “It is a pity that this time is lost.”
Kiev said it had proposed a lower limit of $30 to “destroy the enemy’s economy more quickly”.
Speaking from Kiev, Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands said Ukraine has called for a lower price cap and that the standard adopted by the EU and the Group of Seven Leading Economies did not go far enough.
“Ukraine has been calling for a full embargo on all Russian energy products since the beginning of the Russian invasion,” Challands said.
“A price cap for Russian oil by sea, from a Ukrainian perspective, does not go far enough.”
The shooting continues
Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported that since Friday, the Russian armed forces had fired five rockets, carried out 27 airstrikes and launched 44 shellings against Ukraine’s military positions and civilian infrastructure.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the president’s office, said the attacks killed one civilian and injured four others in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
In southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, whose capital of the same name was liberated three weeks ago by Ukrainian troops after a Russian retreat, Governor Yaroslav Yanushkevich said evacuations of civilians trapped in Russian territory across the River Dnieper will resume temporarily.
Russian troops retreated to the eastern bank of the river last month. Yanushkevich said a ban on crossing the waterway for three days during the day will be lifted for Ukrainian citizens who “did not have time to leave the temporarily occupied territory”.
Ukrainian authorities also reported heavy fighting in Luhansk and Russian shelling of the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, from which most Russian soldiers withdrew in September.