The oil price ceiling is a “road to the destruction of world energy,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
“This is the road towards the destruction of world energy. There may come a time when the underinvested industry will no longer provide the market with the required volume of products. And then prices can skyrocket. And they will hurt those who are trying to implement these tools,” he told reporters in a news conference in Moscow.
Putin called the oil price cap a non-market instrument and said oil-producing countries take this measure “personally.”
“Everyone believes that this is only the first attempt to impose administrative rules on price regulation on producers,” he asserted.
The Russian leader also called the West’s introduction of energy price restrictions an attempt at “colonial” robbery.
Putin underlined that oil and gas producers are mainly Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the countries of Latin America and Asia, while the main consumers are the US and Europe.
“The US produces both oil and gas, but they themselves consume everything, they have little left for the foreign market. That is, it (oil and gas) is produced in these countries, but consumed in the US and Europe. And, in my opinion, what they are trying to do now is such an atavism of colonialism, they are used to stealing from, robbing other countries,” he said.
He emphasized that the cap on Russian oil prices does not harm the budget of Russia and Russian companies.
‘Precautionary’ retaliatory measures
If the gas price cap violates the contracts of Russian energy company Gazprom, Moscow will consider whether it is obligated to comply with them, Putin said.
Gazprom will not fulfill a number of obligations to pay for gas to persons from “unfriendly countries” if the price exceeds the one set by the Cabinet, he added.
The president said he will sign a decree on “precautionary” retaliatory measures on Russian oil price cap next week.
On Monday, EU energy ministers agreed on a gas price cap of €180 ($190) per megawatt/hour (MWh) in the bloc.
Due to the Russia-Ukraine war that started on Feb. 24, the US and the UK committed to ending crude imports from Russia. The EU agreed to impose an embargo on seaborne imports of Russian crude oil starting on Dec. 5, the same day that the EU and the Group of Seven agreed to place an oil price cap of $60 per barrel of Russian crude.
The ban on petroleum products will come into effect as of Feb. 5, corresponding to 90% of Russia’s current oil imports.
‘Special military operation’
Speaking on Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Putin said it was “a forced and necessary measure” and that Russian army “achieves what the country needs.”
Putin claimed that the US has long been involved in the processes in the post-Soviet space, including in Ukraine, adding that the West has “always tried to divide the Russian world.”
“You can’t go against the will of the people who consider themselves part of the Russian world, but they (the West) launched a war against them in Ukraine in 2014,” he said.
Putin also said Russia was “simply fooled” with peace agreements on Ukraine after 2014.
“The US, unfortunately, has succeeded in its attempts to divide the Russian and Ukrainian people,” he said, adding that Russia’s goal is to “protect” people who consider themselves part of its people and culture.
Putin alleged that Russia failed when the US “succeeded in dividing Russians and Ukrainians” after the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
US delivery of Patriot air defense system to Ukraine
The Russian president vowed that his country is not going to arrange “military provocations with the latest weapons” but warned that Russia would destroy a US-made Patriot air defense system upon its delivery to Ukraine.
The Patriot deliveries from the US to Ukraine will only prolong the conflict, he said.
The freshly announced delivery of the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine will “significantly” bolster Kyiv’s ability to defend its skies amid relentless Russian attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday.
Calling the Patriot “outdated systems, worse than the S-300,” Putin said there is an “antidote” for them.
Russia “knocked out” almost all Soviet-made military equipment supplied to Ukraine by NATO countries, he stressed.
Putin also highlighted that the intense hostilities in Ukraine lead to “unjustified losses.” Russia’s goal in the “special military operation” is to end the conflict that began in 2014, he said, adding, ” the sooner this happens, the better it is.”
Putin affirmed that all armed conflicts end in negotiations and that Russia “has never abandoned them, unlike Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian leadership “has forbidden itself to negotiate” with Moscow, Putin said, adding, “the sooner awareness of the need for negotiations comes to Kyiv, the better it is.”
Explosions at Nord Stream
Putin called the explosions at the Nord Stream undersea pipelines in September “an act of international state terrorism,” claiming that behind it are countries interested in the transit of Russian gas to the European market exclusively through Ukraine.
“This is a terrorist attack, it’s obvious. Everyone has recognized it. This is an act of international terrorism, I would say, state terrorism,” he said.
The president also criticized the absence of a “full-scale investigation of explosions” on gas pipelines.
“No one is investigating. We once had the opportunity to look at these places of explosions, all these were in the press, there is nothing to repeat. But there is no full-fledged investigation, no one is conducting it. It is surprising, but true,” he said.
At the same time, according to Putin, Ukraine continues to receive money for the transit of Russian gas.
“We pay them, and it is despite the fact that they call us aggressors,” he said.