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EU president accuses Russia of energy ‘blackmail’ — RT World News

Ursula von der Leyen points the finger at Moscow, even if Brussels voluntarily cuts energy imports

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday accused Russia of “blackmail” the EU with its oil and gas exports. However, the bloc is voluntarily cutting itself off from these energy resources, and Moscow has blamed global food shortages on Western sanctions.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, von der Leyen said the EU “accelerate” its transition to green energy “because of Russia’s blackmail with fossil fuels.”

However, a few hours before his intervention, the German Minister of Economy, Robert Habeck, announced that the 27 Member States of the EU would “reach a breakthrough in a few days” ban imports of Russian oil, on which many EU states depend. Germany, for example, depends on Russia for around a quarter of its imported oil, while the bloc as a whole sources 27% from Russia.

EU president accuses Russia of energy ‘blackmail’ — RT World News

Von der Leyen also promised to cut the EU’s dependence on Russian gas by 66% this year and eliminate it completely by 2027, as part of a green energy plan announced last week. Currently, 40% of EU gas comes from Russia.

Since the start of its military operation in Ukraine in February, and throughout successive waves of EU and US sanctions, Russia has continued to sell its oil and gas to the EU. Moscow, however, demanded that importers buy its gas in rubles. More than half of Gazprom’s foreign customers have already opened ruble accounts with the Russian energy giant, according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Von der Leyen also accused Russia of using “food exports as a form of blackmail”, by allegedly blocking grain shipments out of Ukraine and refusing to export its own supply.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that economic sanctions from the West were responsible for rising global food prices and that Ukraine was free to export its harvest through Poland. Peskov also accused the Ukrainian naval forces of exploiting the Black Sea, carrying out expeditions “virtually impossible.”

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