EU misses ‘perfect time’ to crush Putin and spark ‘complete withdrawal’ in Ukraine

Europe ‘too dependent’ on Russian gas says von der Leyen

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The bloc has been accused of waiting too long to sanction Russia’s energy sector, despite sanctions crippling other sectors of the Russian economy. The EU was urged to introduce harsh sanctions on Russian oil, coal and gas at a time when negotiations appeared to fare better for the West.

Anders Ostlund, a contributor at the Center for European Policy Analysis, tweeted: “If Russia is softening in the negotiations with Ukraine it’s the perfect timing for EU to sanction Russian oil, gas and coal.

“That could pressure Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

“The sanctions could even be partly conditional on a complete Russian withdrawal.”

It comes after Ukrainian negotiator and presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak claimed talks with Russia had become more positive over the weekend.

Mr Ostlund appeared to suggest that this could signal the “perfect time” time to strike Putin while the iron is hot.

But today, Ukraine described its talks pushing for a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops as “hard”.

And the bloc has come up with a plot to scupper its energy ties with Putin, with plans published in its new energy strategy last week.

It details the blueprint for slashing Russian oil and gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year, and completely ending imports by 2030.

But the EU has been hesitant to completely its scupper all ties immediately due to its huge dependence on Russian energy imports.

Russia, which profits hugely from its imports to Europe, supplies the EU with 40 percent of its gas, 25 percent of its oil and 46 percent of its coal imports.

The bloc has acknowledged this in its new energy strategy.

But some critics of the strategy argue that it does not go far enough to sanction Russia.

Some member states are reportedly happy with the plot to completely cut off Russia by 2030, but others want this to happen by 2027.

An EU official said: “Some are asking for 2030, some are asking for 2027, some are saying now.”

Spain, which imports about nine percent of its gas from Russia, said Europe needs to react to Putin “right now”.

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Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calviño urged the European Commission on Tuesday to “revise” its energy regulations.

Other countries, like Germany and Hungary, were completely opposed to the plan of slashing ties with Russia.

Robert Kimbell, chairman of the Time Party, wrote on Twitter: “The EU has no intention of cutting off its entire supplies of gas from Russia until 2030.”

But some sanctions on Russian energy do appear to be coming into play.

An EU source told Reuters that member states are eyeing up sanctions for three Russian oil giants, Rosneft Transneft and Gazprom Neft.

Top EU diplomats are said to be considering slapping the companies with an investment ban.

This would reportedly freeze their funding from sources in the bloc for the new production fossil fuel exploration projects.

But while the sanctions are being considered, the source said that imports of oil would still not be banned over fears of price hikes.

This comes after the US banned Russian oil imports last week, sending prices skyrocketing.

The UK has also committed to phasing out Russian oil imports by the end

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