Economic Adviser to the President Oleg Ustenko is confident that European countries that continue to buy Russian oil and gas, and the London lawyers and bankers who serve the oligarchs from the entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin are also complicit in war crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine. He stated this in an exclusive interview with the Observer.
Oleg Ustenko considers the failure of major western economies to impose an immediate embargo on imports of oil and gas from Russia unacceptable.
According to him, Kyiv is monitoring which companies continue to trade with Russia, and this will have legal consequences.
“We know the name of the ship, the flag, the name of the captain, the volume of oil, we know how much money was paid for that oil, the port of destination, the company who sold the insurance. We are going to work with this information,” the Adviser to the President noted.
“If Russians are committing war crimes, even genocide, whoever is supplying Russia with this bloody money is guilty of the same war crime,” he emphasized.
Therefore, according to Oleg Ustenko, Ukraine will have the absolute right to prosecute such accomplices.
“Maybe in a year, maybe in 10 years, but we are going to find these accomplices of war crimes,” the Adviser to the President said.
He called for the imposition of much tougher international sanctions on Russia, as well as for immediate measures to direct the frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank to cover Ukraine's urgent needs. The sale of frozen assets belonging to oligarchs subject to sanctions must also begin as soon as possible with the proceeds going towards Ukraine’s defense and its postwar reconstruction.
"We will both win and rebuild our country. We need funds for this, and Russia must compensate every hryvnia of our losses," he said.
In addition, in an interview with The Guardian Oleg Ustenko said that the death, destruction and atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine should be a convincing argument for the West, in particular for Europe, in favor of giving up Russian oil and gas and strengthening punitive sanctions against the Kremlin.
He estimates that Moscow receives about $ 1.4 billion a day from the sale of energy, with most of the money coming from Europe.
“Imagine how many missiles and bombs you can buy for that kind of money,” the Adviser to the President said.
According to him, some people in Europe still have extremely narrow thinking. They believe they can help Ukraine, but they do not understand that by supplying this money to Vladimir Putin, they are funding his military machine.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Baerbock promised last week that Berlin would end imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, phasing gas out later. Oleg Ustenko calls this schedule “unacceptable”. According to him, an immediate oil embargo would mean short-term fuel price inflation, followed by a market correction as supplies from other nations kicked in.
For gas, Oleg Ustenko admits the transition would be harder. In the meantime, he adds, payments to Russian gas suppliers should be held in escrow, to be unlocked when the war is over. This would choke off Russia's revenue stream and provide a financial incentive to end the aggression.