Zelensky says the price cap on Russian oil is too high

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine slammed a plan negotiated by the Group of 7 nations to impose a cap on Russian crude oil at $60 a barrel, arguing that the cap was not low enough to significantly curb the Kremlin’s war effort and hit suggesting that the plan was so architects “were trying to avoid making big decisions”.

Mr Zelensky made the comments late Saturday in his nocturnal addressjust a day after European Union diplomats reached the agreement after lengthy negotiations.

The $60 per barrel threshold was a compromise: a group of European seafaring nations had called for the price cap to be set at or above $70 per barrel to ensure their business interests would not be harmed; Another group of pro-Ukrainian countries had called for the cap to be set at or near $30 a barrel in a bid to drastically cut Russia’s oil revenues. Eventually, the negotiators settled on a price close to what major buyers of Russian oil, such as China and India, are currently paying.

The deal has been heralded by its supporters as one likely to both slightly reduce the Kremlin’s energy revenues and avert a global oil shock. But Mr. Zelensky found it lacking.

“The logic is obvious: if the price limit for Russian oil is $60 instead of, for example, $30 that Poland and the Baltic countries talked about, then the Russian budget will receive about $100 billion a year,” Zelenskyy said.

“This money will not only be used for the war and not only for Russia’s continued sponsorship of other terrorist regimes and organizations,” he continued. “This money will also be used to further destabilize the very countries that are now trying to avoid making big decisions.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry S. Peskov said on Saturday that Moscow would not accept the price cap for Russian oil. This is reported by the Russian state news agency Tass.

The United States had led the push for an agreement based on what was eventually negotiated. After the deal was announced, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen praised the plan. It helped “achieve our goal of curtailing Putin’s main source of income for his illegal war in Ukraine while preserving the stability of global energy supplies,” she said, referring to Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin.

Western sanctions have so far not been able to weaken Moscow’s energy exports: Russia is well on the way earn more this year from oil sales than in 2021, buoyed by a post-war surge in world prices.

And questions remain about whether the new plan can be enforced. It relies on every party in the Russian oil supply chain to confirm the price of supplies, and insurers and shippers have warned records could be falsified by those trying to keep Russian oil running.

In his speech, Mr. Zelensky complained that “the discussion about price caps” had “ended in the world” without “major decisions”.

“You wouldn’t call it a big decision to put a cap like that on Russian prices,” he said of the $60 per barrel cap, adding that the cap would be “pretty convenient for a terrorist state’s budget.”

“Russia has already inflicted huge losses on all countries of the world by deliberately destabilizing the energy market,” he said.

EU diplomats have agreed that the price cap should be reviewed every two months, or more frequently if necessary, by a committee of policymakers from Group of 7 countries and allies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/03/world/europe/zelensky-russia-oil-cap.html Zelensky says the price cap on Russian oil is too high


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