Josep Borrel, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs

The European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, ruled out on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order a cut in oil and gas supplies to Europe in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the West.

Russia “needs to sell its oil and gas”, Borrell said in an interview with EFE within the framework of the Doha Forum, in which he participated today alongside political leaders and strategists from around the world gathered in the Qatari capital to analyze a range of issues of major global concern, such as the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis and climate change.

The Spanish diplomat stressed that Moscow obtains “a considerable amount of the financial resources it needs from the sale of hydrocarbons, because the sanctions have blocked the assets that the Russian Central Bank has in American, European and Japanese banks”, although he acknowledged that “they are not all the assets” it has, because Moscow “has many in China and other countries in which (the West) cannot operate”.

“Not all assets, but we have blocked a very important part of their foreign exchange reserves”, he assured.

However, he acknowledged that Putin is an unpredictable person from whom anything can be expected: “I’m not in Putin’s head and I don’t know what he’s going to do. I never thought he would invade, and more than invade, destroy Ukraine as he is doing,” he said.

Europe finds itself in a contradictory situation as, on the one hand, it wants to shut down Russia’s oil and gas imports to isolate and hit it even harder in response to the war in Ukraine, its economic sanctions have already had the side effect of increasing energy prices, which are hitting consumers hard.

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