President of Ukraine

Along with the embargo on Russian oil, it is extremely important to stop its transportation by vessels under EU flags - Oleg Ustenko

18 May 2022 - 15:19

Russia will be able to circumvent EU sanctions and continue to earn crucial cash from its oil sales. That is why Ukraine insists on a ban on transporting Russian oil by EU-flagged vessels. This was stated by Adviser to the President of Ukraine on Economic Issues Oleg Ustenko in a comment to Politico.

The EU countries are now actively discussing the sixth sanctions package against Russia. In particular, they are negotiating whether it will envisage a prohibition for EU-flagged ships from transporting Russian oil to third countries. It is stated that this European Commission idea was shot down by Greece, Malta and Cyprus over concerns their shipowners would lose out to rivals and their economies would take a hit.

Global Witness, a climate advocacy group, estimates that vessels owned or managed in Greece, Cyprus or Malta, or sailing under their flags, have picked up at least 150 million barrels of crude from Russian ports between February 24 and May 10.

According to a Lloyd's List report, Greek shipowners actually stepped up their Russian oil deliveries in April: accounting for 76 out of 190 tankers shipping crude or oil out of key Russian ports compared with 30 out of 172 tankers in the same period last year.

According to the publication, in 2021 Russia received 45% of budget revenues from oil and gas sales.

Oleg Ustenko said Russia’s oil exports are earning around $1 billion a day — making it crucial to stop shipments immediately.

“You can imagine how many missiles and bombs they can buy in order to bomb our cities, to kill our citizens, to rape our women,” he said.

“Politicians on the EU side are talking about money and we are talking here about lives,” Oleg Ustenko noted.

Foreign vessels are vital to Russia's ability to ship oil. This should be blocked immediately, the President's adviser is convinced.