Ukraine: We must end dependence on Russia’s oil, gas, British PM urges world leaders

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Tuesday for the West to end its “addiction” to Russian energy, which he says allows President Vladimir Putin to “blackmail” the world.

Western leaders made a “terrible mistake” when they let Putin “get away” with Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and became more dependent on Russian energy, Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

As a result, “when he (Putin) finally came to launch his vicious war in Ukraine, he knew the world would find it very hard to punish him”, Johnson said.

“The world cannot be subject to this continuous blackmail.”

Johnson’s comments come ahead of a visit to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid skyrocketing fuel prices blamed on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“As long as the West is economically dependent on Putin, he will do all he can to exploit that dependence,” he wrote.

“If the world can end its dependence on Russian oil and gas, we can starve him of cash, destroy his strategy and cut him down to size.”

The United States, itself a big energy producer, has already announced a ban on imports of Russian oil, the UK will do the same and the EU has agreed to do so “as soon as possible”, Johnson wrote.

He admitted that weaning the West off Russian energy “will be painful”.

Johnson’s spokesman said ahead of his Saudi visit that the government “wants to reduce the volatility and bring prices down for UK businesses”.

The UK government is to publish its British Energy Security Strategy later this month, and Johnson said there was a need for investment in renewables, including offshore wind farms and solar.

He also said there needs to be “a series of big new bets on nuclear”, including “small modular reactors as well as the larger power stations”.


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