Ukraine’s finance minister has called for a complete embargo on Russian energy in a bid to make it harder for the nation to “finance its military needs”.
Sergeii Marchenko said the war led to soaring energy prices, which is a boon for Moscow.
Mr Marchenko told the BBC: “Huge oil and gas prices are helping Russia get extra money to run its budget with a surplus. In comparison, we are running the country with a very huge budget deficit.
“I believe that a total embargo can make Russia suffer more than it does now.”
He said the war meant his country collected less tax “because over 20% of our businesses are completely shut down”.
“It means we cannot successfully fulfill our necessary duty as a government without international support, or simply printing money,” he added.
It comes after the top European Union official on Wednesday called on the 27-nation bloc to ban oil imports from Russia.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, proposed that EU member countries phase out imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.
“We will ensure that Russian oil is phased out in an orderly manner, so as to enable us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimize the impact on global markets,” Ms von said. der Leyen.
The proposals must be unanimously approved to enter into force and are likely to be the subject of fierce debate.
Ms Von der Leyen conceded that getting the 27 member countries – some of them landlocked and heavily dependent on Russia for energy supplies – to agree on oil sanctions “will not be easy”.
The EU gets about 25% of its oil from Russia, most of which is used for gasoline and diesel for vehicles.
Russia supplies about 14% of the diesel, according to S&P Global analysts, and a cut could drive up already high fuel prices for trucks and tractors.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed Ms Von der Leyen’s proposal for an oil embargo.
He said Ukraine was not happy that it was delayed for several months, but “it’s better than nothing”.
“I think what should be clear now is that (the time) of half-sanctions or half-measures on sanctions is over,” Kuleba said, arguing that the EU can no longer support the EU. on the one hand by imposing sanctions, while continuing to pay Russia for oil and gas and to support its “war machine”.
“As long as Russia continues to receive billions in revenue from the European Union, we cannot talk about defeating Russia,” he said. “They will continue to fund their war machine with oil and gas revenues.”
In addition to sanctions imposed on various entities and individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of his family, the EU has previously approved an embargo on coal imports.
The EU has started discussions on a possible embargo on natural gas, but consensus among member countries on targeting the fuel used to generate electricity and heat homes is more difficult to achieve.