Russia said on Wednesday it was trying to limit the damage caused by the European Union’s oil embargo because its other major energy exports, gas, had declined after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.
At a summit on Monday, the EU agreed on a sixth package of sanctions on Moscow, which would see Russia cut off most of its oil, but also cut off supplies to Hungary via a pipeline.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “sanctions will have a negative impact on Europe, us and the global energy market as a whole.”
Peskov added that a “reorganization” was under way to find an alternative to the oil that would no longer be sold in Europe.
“These are purposeful, systematic actions that allow us to minimize the negative consequences,” he said.
After Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, Russia hit its economy and financial institutions with a barrier to targeted sanctions.
The Wall Street Journal reports that OPEC is considering removing Russia from a deal that has prevented producers from increasing their limited output.
Analysts say the removal of Moscow would mean a quick end to the deal and allow major unrefined countries, such as Saudi Arabia, to open the taps.
Separately, Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Wednesday that its gas exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union had fallen by more than a quarter year-on-year between January and May after losing several European clients.
Exports to countries outside the region totaled 61 billion cubic meters, down 27.6-percent from the same period last year, Gazprom said in a statement.
Gazprom added that gas supplies to China through the “Power of Siberia” pipeline were increasing, but did not provide any figures.
Moscow claims that customers from “friendly countries” – including EU member states – will now pay in rubles for their gas.
The new requirement is seen as a way to circumvent Western financial sanctions imposed on Russia’s central bank over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
So far, Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands have suspended their natural gas supplies due to refusal to pay in rubles.
Gazprom Exports will cut gas supplies to Denmark on Wednesday after the Danish company refused to pay the ruble, the Danish energy company Orstad said.
EU countries have vowed to reduce their dependence on Russian energy, but are divided over the imposition of natural gas sanctions because several member states are heavily dependent on Moscow’s energy supplies.
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