Zelensky urges energy producers to increase exports to Europe

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, speaking via video before a major policy conference in Qatar on Saturday, called on that country and other energy producers to increase gas exports to Europe as part of the driving force to reduce the continent’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

“The future of Europe depends on your efforts,” Mr. Zelensky said in a virtual address to the Doha Forum in Qatar, one of the world’s largest gas exporters. “I urge you to increase energy production so that Russia understands that no state should use energy as a weapon to blackmail the world.”

According to Bruegel, a research organization, last year, 38% of the natural gas used by the European Union came from Russia. The bloc’s moves to cut off that supply itself are crucial to a broader Western effort to punish Moscow, a major oil and gas producer, for its invasion of Ukraine.

The United States banned Russian energy imports on March 8, and European nations have pledged to gradually follow. In Germany, which is Moscow’s most important natural gas customer, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz said last month the country would stop certifying the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to be grounded. his country with Russia.

Germany has set the ambitious goal of freeing itself from dependence on Russian natural gas by mid-2024.

But securing a supply of alternative fossil fuels is expensive and can take years. Rising energy prices have also made Europe cautious in trying to minimize the economic damage caused on the continent and the pain to the public.

President Biden and Ursula van der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced on Friday that US will help secure more liquefied natural gas for Europethough that plan will be largely symbolic in the short term, because The United States cannot afford to export more than that fuel and Europe cannot afford to import more.

Zelensky’s call to support Ukraine amid Russia’s aggression was the latest in a series of video speeches in which he called on governments in the US, Europe and Asia to provide more military aid. and enforce tougher sanctions against Moscow.

“Responsible countries like Qatar are reliable and solid exporters of natural resources, and they can contribute to stability in Europe,” he said.

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