EU money spent on energy is funding Russia right now, Minister says

ireland
Eu Money Spent On Energy Is Funding Russia Right Now, Minister Says Eu Money Spent On Energy Is Funding Russia Right Now, Minister Says
Simon Coveney said European states pay €260 million per day to Russia for oil. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

The European Union is “lining up” conversations about further sanctions against Russia later this week, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who said EU money spent on energy is helping to fund Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking from Brussels where he is attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers about the war in Ukraine, Mr Coveney said he did not think new sanctions would be agreed today, but that there was an appetite for increased sanctions with Ireland to the fore in such discussions.

Curtailing oil and gas exports from Russia was one option, he told RTÉ radio’s News at One, as European states pay €260 million per day to Russia for oil and a similar amount per day for gas. “Every single day”.

Mr Coveney said he did not think there would be agreement immediately on sanctions against Russian oil and gas, as some countries were 80 per cent to 90 per cent reliant on Russian fuel supplies. “That creates a difficulty.”

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The high amounts being paid to Russia for oil and gas did open Europe to claims that it was helping finance Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he acknowledged.

“I certainly accept money from the EU spent on energy is funding Russia right now. You don't need to convince me.”

EU defence strategy

The war in Ukraine had also given fresh impetus to a new EU defence strategy, Strategic Compass, which Ireland was helping to shape, he said.

It was about trying to find a more coordinated common policy for collective intervention when and where the EU needed to be a peacekeeper, said Mr Coveney.

Potentially this could include the Irish defence forces who already worked with other EU states in peacekeeping units, so they were already familiar in operating together.

Ireland’s contribution towards helping the Ukrainian military was now going to be €22 million as the EU fund had been doubled from half a billion to €1 billion, he said. Ireland’s contribution would be for non-lethal items such as helmets, protective equipment, food parcels and fuel.

When asked if the Taoiseach would be able to attend the Council of EU leaders later this week, Mr Coveney said Micheál Martin hoped to be able to attend, but that if he could not then he would nominate someone to give the Irish contribution.

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