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Close the taps “by the end of the year”
“We will phase out Russian supplies of crude oil within six months and those of refined products by the end of the year,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Strasbourg. But this ambitious goal could lead to significant costs for European countries, experts warn. The global oil market, which Europe will have to turn to if it wants to break free from Russia, is “very difficult” to predict, recalls Yvan Cliche, fellow at the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal. “This is a huge job that has never been done before. But there are concrete examples, as in Lithuania, […] and Poland said it was sure it could apply the embargo. However, its success remains uncertain,” he says.
A divisive proposal
The Commission is already planning an exemption for Hungary and Slovakia, two landlocked countries wholly dependent on supplies through the “Druzhba” pipeline, which will be able to continue their purchases from Russia into 2023. But this exemption poses a problem, because Bulgaria and the Czech Republic would also like to benefit from it. In addition, Hungary immediately showed its opposition to the European Union’s proposal. “With all responsibility we cannot vote,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced. “We’ve been clear about this, our oil companies have been clear about this, the shortest period of time” [pour implanter un tel embargo] would take three to five years,” the Hungarian prime minister’s spokesman told CNN.
Disastrous consequences for Russia
However, these new sanctions could deal a fatal blow to Russia, and their effects could be felt “for several generations”, Yvan Cliche estimates. The sale of hydrocarbons is indeed essential for the Russian regime to continue supporting its offensive in Ukraine. Without these revenues, the country could struggle to pay for its military, its civil servants and their pensions, argues Florian Mayneris, a professor at the University of Quebec’s School of Management Sciences in Montreal. Even by turning to China to export its oil or gas, Russia won’t get away with it because it would have to negotiate its fossil fuel exports at a discount, adds Yvan Cliche.
A new ceasefire in Mariupol
After launching a “vigorous attack” on the Azovstal steel plant on Tuesday, Russia announced on Wednesday that its troops would cease fire in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol to open a three-day humanitarian corridor to prevent the evacuation of citizens of the site. For his part, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, called on UN Secretary-General António Guterres to help “rescue” the injured at the steel plant site. Mr Zelensky later said that about 300 civilians were able to flee from the steel mill.
Russia Simulates Nuclear Attacks
Moscow said on Wednesday that its military had simulated the firing of nuclear missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, located between Poland and Lithuania. According to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, “electronic launches” of nuclear-equipped Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems have been carried out. After launching the offensive in Ukraine last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin made thinly veiled threats suggesting a desire to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.
Airspace violated, Finland moves closer to NATO
Meanwhile, Finland hopes for “the fastest possible” ratification by NATO’s 30 members in the event of an attempt to join the Atlantic Alliance, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday. But Helsinki wants guarantees of protection during the membership period, which could last several months, and is in talks with key alliance countries, she added, citing the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. As if to recall the proximity to Vladimir Putin’s country, a Russian army helicopter violated Finnish airspace on Wednesday morning.
Strikes up to Transcarpathia
The previously spared region of Transcarpathia, bordering Hungary and Slovakia, was hit by the first bombings. † A rocket fell in a mountainous region of Transcarpathia. The services are working on the ground, we are clarifying information about the injured and possible victims,” the governor of this region, Viktor Mikita, said on Telegram. This attack is part of an overall operation by the Russian army that searched Ukraine from east to west. “In order to destroy Ukraine’s transport infrastructure, the enemy fired missiles at facilities in the regions of Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovograd, Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kiev, Transcarpathia, Odessa and Donetsk,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said.
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Washington intelligence allowed Kiev to kill Russian generals
Intelligence provided to the Ukrainian military by the United States has resulted in the killing of many Russian generals at the front, the New York Times, citing unnamed sources within the US services. Washington’s intelligence efforts to provide close assistance to Ukraine in the fighting have included determining the location and other details of Russia’s military mobile headquarters, which are regularly relocated, the US daily reports. According to senior officials quoted anonymously, this information, combined with that of the Ukrainians – and in particular the interception of communications – enabled the latter to launch artillery strikes against senior Russian officers. These sources did not want to give their number, according to the New York Times† The Ukrainians have repeatedly claimed to have killed Russian generals in the field since the invasion of Ukraine began.
Media agency France
More information user manual
- Share of oil imported from Russia into the European Union