Only one winner from anti-Russia sanctions – Moscow
The sanctions the West has slapped on Russia over the Ukraine conflict are taking a heavy toll on the European economy, while the US is the only actor profiting from the restrictions, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov claimed on Saturday.
Speaking to Asharq News daily, the minister believes that Western sanctions had helped Washington achieve what its goal, saying “their supplies of oil and gas to the European market have increased.”
Energy shipments from the US, however, have proved costly for Europeans, resulting in skyrocketing inflation and decreased competitive power for European businesses, Siluanov said.
According to the minister, both Western sanctions and the blasts that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in late September “were orchestrated to provide Europe with more expensive liquefied [natural] gas from America.”
“America benefits, Europe loses,” he explained.
Moscow has called the sabotage a terrorist attack, claiming that the US stood to benefit the most from the explosions. While Washington has denied any involvement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe to wean itself off of Russian energy.
Siluanov went on to admit that sanctions have affected the Russian economy. “But they inflicted on the West no less and perhaps even more pain,” he added, pointing to how sanctions rhetoric has now become routine.
The minister noted that the EU price cap on Russian oil “will certainly lead to price and market distortions,” reiterating Moscow’s position that it would not provide crude through contracts under Western-mandated restrictions.
Russian oil companies are rerouting their oil shipments from the West in other directions, the minister said. “We will be looking for new markets, looking for new logistics. It is possible that this would be more expensive,” he stated.
Earlier this month, the EU, G7 countries and Australia introduced a price limit on Russian seaborne oil, set at $60 per barrel. The measure also prohibits Western companies from providing insurance and other services to shipments of Russian crude, unless the cargo is purchased at or below the indicated price.
Following the move, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that the restrictions would wreak havoc on global oil markets, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was not planning to sell oil to nations supporting the price cap.