Ukraine’s most prominent energy company has called for a boycott against Russia. CEO Yuriy Vitrenko of Naftogaz said that while economic sanctions are currently in place, they should be more severe and aimed straight at Russian energy.
To cease the conflict from further spreading, “it should make this very clear choice to get rid of this dependency on Russian gas and oil,” said Vitrenko. With economic sanctions, “you have to believe as if you were at war with Russia,” he further stated.
Russian oil and gas are currently exempted from the list of Western sanctions. However, Russia’s Lukoil, the second-largest oil company in the country, has called on the government for a ceasefire, saying that it is worried about the “tragic events in Ukraine.”
Vitrenko said that all must be executed to prevent the rule of Putin, which he calls Russia’s “killing machine,” from gaining any profits. He alleged the Russian leader of utilizing the gains from oil “to kill innocent people.”
Vitrenko believes that the country should be treated as a rogue state, just as America treats Iran and that the Russian sanctions should mirror that. He further stated that the sanctions on energy must be long-lasting.
“I would say that it’s not a short-term measure because I believe that in the longer term, you can reach climate change targets without Russian gas, so it’s just a matter of choice,” he said.
Vitrenko commended the German government for taking steps to effectively block Nord Stream 2, which was built to increase Russia’s supply of gas delivered directly into Germany by two times.
While he believed the measure was past due, he stated it was “better late than never.” It was a surprise “not just to us, but also to the Germans” that Putin steered to the directions he is currently administering, Vitrenko added.
He continued, it was a “pleasant surprise that finally Europe, and Germany in particular, are serious about making sure that Putin stops getting a revenue stream.”
Vitrenko is one of many who have spoken about pressuring lawmakers in the US and Europe to sanction Russian oil and gas.