Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the decision to impose a $60 price cap on Russian seaborne oil can’t be called “a serious decision” as that level is “quite comfortable” for Russia’s budget.
The EU on Friday agreed to put a limit on Russian oil prices of $60 a barrel, after days of argument over how hard to hit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oil revenues. The cap was joined by the G7 countries and Australia.
“It’s a weak position,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Saturday. It’s only a matter of time before stronger measures against Moscow will need to be used, the Ukrainian leader said. “It is a pity that the time will be lost,” he said.
Russia has already inflicted “huge losses” internationally by deliberately destabilizing the global energy market, Zelenskyy said. But the world still cannot dare undertake “real energy disarmament” of the Kremlin, he said.
Moscow rejected the price limit and said Russian officials “are assessing the situation,” according to a TASS report.
“Certain preparations for such a cap were made,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday. “We will not accept the price cap.”
Zelenskyy said that with the price limit for Russian oil at the level of $60 instead of $30, which Poland and the Baltic states had proposed, the Russian budget will receive about $100 billion a year.
This money, Zelenskyy believes, will be channeled “not only to the war and not only to Russia’s further sponsoring of other terrorist regimes and organizations. This money will also be used to further destabilize precisely those countries that are now trying to avoid big decisions,” he said
On Saturday morning, Andriy Yermak, head of Ukrainian presidential office, wrote on social media that a special working group on Russian sanctions also proposed a $30 cap. The working group is chaired by Yermak and Michael McFaul, former U.S. National Security Adviser.
Under the deal agreed to on Friday, Western nations will ban insurance and shipping companies from offering their services to Russian oil shipments to third countries if the oil is sold above the price cap. The ban applies to all EU vessels, whether they’re EU-flagged, or owned, chartered or operated by an EU company.