Oleg Ustenko, a top economic adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenksy, slammed the international community in a statement Monday. Ustenko called on all countries currently buying oil from the Russians to stop and said all those who continue to buy are complicit in war crimes. The statement was published by the president’s office.
“We know the name of the ship, the flag, the name of the captain, the volume of oil, we know how much money was paid for that oil, the port of destination, the company who sold the insurance,” Ustenko said. He also promised that the Ukrainian government would pursue legal action at some point down the road, saying, “Maybe in a year, maybe in 10 years, but we are going to find these accomplices of war crimes.”
The Ukrainian government, including Zelensky, has expressed its frustrations with its Western European neighbors as it continues to defend itself against the Russian onslaught. The Monday release from the president’s office said, “They believe they can help Ukraine, but they do not understand that by supplying this money to Vladimir Putin, they are funding his military machine.” Zelensky issued his own criticisms against those European countries buying Russian oil in a statement last week, saying nations doing business with the Russians were “earning their money in other people’s blood.”
While many European governments have imposed sanctions on Putin and Russian oligarchs, Ustenko estimated that $1.4 billion dollars flow to Moscow every day from energy sales as nations such as Germany, Italy, France, and Poland remain substantial buyers of Russian gas.
Germany’s minister of foreign affairs, Annalena Baerbock, promised last week to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022, which Ustenko said was an “unacceptable” time frame.
Ustenko went on to lament that the money from oil sales is being used by the Russians to fund atrocities in Ukraine. “They’re using it for killing us, for doing the terrible things they did in Bucha and in other places,” Ustenko said Friday.
Despite extensive Western sanctions on Russia, it continues to rake in money from energy sales. In fact, Russia is currently making more money in energy sales now than before its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Russia is projected to make approximately $321 billion from energy exports in 2022, up more than a third from 2021.