Ukraine: Jens Stoltenberg on Russia's military aggression
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The president of the World Bank has warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will cause an economic “catastrophe” around the world. David Malpass said today: “The war in Ukraine comes at a bad time for the world because inflation was already rising.” His comments come after Western allies hit Russia with huge sanctions after the country’s forces invaded Ukraine. This included seven Russian banks being barred from SWIFT – a messaging system used to process payments.
But, Western leaders have been reluctant to target Russia’s gas sector so far as it is an important supplier and prices in Europe are already high.
Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, who remains in Kyiv, has warned the rest of Europe that it must stop buying natural resources from Russia as this could help fund the invasion.
She told Express.co.uk: “What we need from the West right now are three major things.
“Please continue to support our army, all of the weapons we have been provided with from the UK and others have been extremely helpful and is helping saving thousands of Ukrainian lives.
“Number two, we need full-scale sanctions on Russia. The rollout of the sanctions so far has been unacceptable. We need the Russian economy to crumble so they cannot sustain this nonsensical war.
“Every pound being spent right now on Russian oil, gas and whatever else is being used to pay for weapons which kill Ukrainian children.
“We are also asking for a no-fly zone. This is a tough ask, but everyone here knows this is the only way to proceed.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that NATO leaders are not contemplating a no-fly zone as this risks escalation.
Europe relies on Russia for roughly 40 percent of its gas imports and roughly 30 percent of its oil imports.
As things stand, Russian gas can still be sent to the UK despite sanctions placed on the country.
EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday that the EU needs to rethink its strategy on natural resources.
He said: “We need to wean ourselves off the dependency on Russian gas and oil and we need to do that much quicker than we had anticipated.
“The European Commission will make proposals next week to make that happen as soon as possible.”
Euractiv reported this week that Brussels has already drawn up plans to ditch Russian gas.
A leaked draft of the EU’s communication on energy said Europe needs to build up its renewable energy capacity and diversify its gas supply to end its dependency on Russian gas.
It read: “This dependency has aggravated the current situation of high energy prices, which continues to impact European households and businesses.
“With the EU gas storages at historically low levels and security of supply concerns linked to low debit in the gas pipelines from the East, we witness a growing gas crisis. The EU remains highly dependent on energy imports for power generation and heating.”
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for an acceleration of the EU’s green agenda this week.
She said: “Every kilowatt-hour of electricity Europe generates from solar, wind, hydropower or biomass reduces our dependency on Russian gas and other energy sources.
“This is a strategic investment because, on top, less dependency on Russian gas and other fossil fuel sources also means less money for the Kremlin’s war chest.”
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