Zelensky adviser: Countries buying Russian oil, gas complicit in war crimes
A top economic adviser to Ukraine’s president slammed countries that are still buying oil and gas from Russia, saying they are complicit in war crimes Russian soldiers are accused of committing in Ukraine.
In a Monday release from the Ukrainian president’s office, Oleg Ustenko called on the countries to immediately stop funding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war machine and threatened legal action for those that don’t.
“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,” Ustenko said, promising legal action would come at some point down the road.
“We are going to work with this information,” he added. “If Russians are committing war crimes, even genocide, whoever is supplying Russia with this bloody money is guilty of the same war crime.”
Ustenko first made the comments in an interview with The Observer.
While the U.S. has banned Russian oil imports, Russia is the largest supplier of gas for Europe, and the European Union has refrained from cutting off the pumps.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also sharply criticized European countries buying Russian gas, telling the BBC last week they were “earning their money in other people’s blood.”
Huge buyers of Russian gas include Germany, Italy, France and Poland.
Germany’s minister of foreign affairs, Annalena Baerbock, last week promised to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year, but Ustenko said that was an “unacceptable” time frame and called for an immediate oil embargo.
Ukraine won an initial round of the war around the capital of Kyiv, but Russia has regrouped for a renewed offensive in the Donbas, the industrial heartland in Ukraine’s east.
Russian soldiers have reportedly buried mass graves near the southeastern port city of Mariupol, where tens of thousands may have died. Claims of Russian war crimes and genocide have been raised by leaders around the world.
While European governments have sanctioned Putin and cracked down on Russian oligarchs to support Ukraine as it fights off Russian invaders, Ustenko estimated that $1.4 billion dollars flow to Moscow every day from energy sales.
“Imagine how many missiles and bombs you can buy for that kind of money,” he said. “We will both win and rebuild our country. We need funds for this, and Russia must compensate every [one] of our losses.”
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