As evidence emerges that Russian forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine, Western leaders continue to ponder harsher energy sanctions against them.
Modelling by the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel suggests that Europe’s gas imports from Russia were as valuable as €838m on 7 March. Since then, although gas prices have fluctuated, estimates of how much the EU pays to Russia each day have generally remained above pre-war levels. Yesterday (4 April), the value of this trade could have been somewhere between €389m and €470m.
Exactly how much the EU has paid for Russian gas is not known since gas is sold on a variety of contracts at different prices. The EU could have imported €18bn worth of gas from Russia since the start of the war however, based on its current value. But based on last month’s average prices, this could have been €12.7bn since 24 February. The actual price that Europe pays Russia daily is likely to fall somewhere between the two lines on the chart, according to Bruegel.
Fossil fuel exports – oil, gas and, to a lesser extent, coal – make up the majority of Russia’s export earnings, with oil and gas contributing 45 per cent to Russia’s federal budget.
While the EU has been slow to block Russian energy – which accounts for 40 per cent of its gas, 40 per cent of its diesel and 30 per cent of its oil – Politico has reported that the bloc may be moving closer to such a step. Germany, which receives around two thirds of its gas imports from Russia, has in recent weeks held out against such an embargo.