Stopping Moscow’s oil and gas exports is the route to victory in Ukraine

An oil tanker is moored at the Sheskharis complex, part of Chernomortransneft JSC, a subsidiary of Transneft PJSC, in Novorossiysk, Russia, - AP

An oil tanker is moored at the Sheskharis complex, part of Chernomortransneft JSC, a subsidiary of Transneft PJSC, in Novorossiysk, Russia, – AP

One year on from Vladimir Putin’s murderous invasion and nine years into Russia’s aggression, Ukraine stands strong, united and determined. The Kremlin underestimated the bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people. Our whole nation is grateful to the British people, Government and Parliament for assisting our defence against Putin’s neo-imperialist regime. This war has become a common fight for democratic values, rules-based order, sustainable peace and security.

Victory is in our grasp if five goals are met: more modern weapons and military systems, including tanks, fighter jets and long-range artillery; more sanctions’ pressure to drain Russia of the resources to wage its war of aggression; bringing Putin’s regime to international justice for its crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine; strengthening Ukraine’s resilience through aid and reforms; and Ukrainian membership of the European Union and Nato.

Emptying Russia’s energy wallet is critical to our success. The energy trade is at the root of Putin’s power, threatening global order and security. Refusing Russian oil and gas for good would make the nations of Europe more resilient and secure. It would undercut Putin’s pernicious strategy.

There are two ways to achieve this. Firstly, by sanctioning the whole Russian energy sector, including nuclear, and its international trade capacity. Putin remains emboldened by his malign influence on European and global energy markets. Since the invasion, the UK’s energy policies have deprived Putin’s war machine of £4.5 billion by ending all its gas, oil and coal imports. However, Russia still earns about £460 million a day through international trade in fossil fuels. And we cannot forget Russia’s malign influence in nuclear technologies. It generates enormous revenues and helped Russia earn political capital for decades.

More energy sanctions are needed to ensure Russia does not continue to profit from oil and gas. Countries which continue to buy Russian fossil fuels should only pay the production price – denying Putin a profit. The price cap has helped, but it is not enough. Russia must also be denied the ability to use its shadow fleet of tankers to avoid sanctions and keep trading its oil. It is intolerable that Russia went from selling less than 3 million oil barrels in November to more than 9 million last month. If we are serious about limiting Russian revenues, we must stop the hundred oil tankers still carrying Russian oil and ensure they never do so again. We must target the trade in Russian liquefied natural gas, making it impossible for ships to export it and shutting down the Druzhba oil pipeline. These are two obvious steps that have yet to be implemented a full year into the war.

Secondly, we should accelerate the transition to green energy. Replacing fossil fuels with renewables is one of the most efficient ways to strengthen Europe’s energy security and ensure free nations are independent of energy supplies from autocratic anti-Western regimes. What was once only about climate change is now also about democracy. Europe and the world need clean energy to escape Putin’s grasp. With every wind turbine we build and every solar panel we install, Europe will be less vulnerable to Russia’s energy warfare.

When we win the war and look to rebuild, Ukraine must also embrace the opportunities of clean energy and green technologies to create a resilient, free and prosperous nation.

We look to the UK to help end Russia’s influence that flows from its oil and gas. For your country, it will bring benefits including cheap power. For Europe, it will help end their dependence on Russian supplies. For Ukraine, it will help defund Putin so we can win the war on the battlefield and in the long run.

Petro Poroshenko was president of Ukraine from 2014-2019