Russia’s revenues from oil and gas sales to Europe have fallen by two-thirds and Putin has miscalculated his intention to blackmail the European Union with energy supplies, Ursula von der Leyen has said.
On the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised the EU’s cohesive response to Russian aggression. “At the start of the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he would be able to blackmail Europe with its dependence on Russian gas, but he miscalculated. One year after starting the war, he has lost the energy war he himself started,” she said in a speech to the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg on Wednesday, 15 February.
Von der Leyen said the EU had adapted to the situation, turned to credible partners and could now see the first successes – Russia’s oil and gas revenues to Europe have fallen by two thirds, EU gas prices are now lower than before the war began, and Europe is betting on green energy and energy autonomy. “Putin’s attempt to blackmail us has failed,” stressed the European Commission chief.
Support for Ukraine and new sanctions against Russia
Ursula von der Leyen has called for continued support for Ukraine. She said she has often spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about what gives hope to people in Ukraine. “It is hope that the future of their country, the future of their children is in the European Union,” she explained, urging the European Parliament to support Ukrainians as long as necessary so that representatives of the Ukrainian people can also sit in the EP.
Von der Leyen also said that the EU would for the first time propose imposing sanctions against Iranian companies involved in Russia’s war against Ukraine, including those linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. According to the EC head, the tenth package of sanctions against Russia worth 11bn euros will include new trade bans and stricter control over exports of technology needed to produce drones, helicopters and missiles.