Let’s stop funding Putin’s war

Let’s stop funding Putin’s war

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Jan Lachnitt started this petition to President of the European Council Charles Michel and

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Petition to the European Council

Dear President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, Presidents and Prime Ministers of the member states,

After years, war has, unfortunately, returned to Europe. War is an extremely difficult test for the attacked nation, but it is also a test for us, the nations living in the EU, because our actions may significantly influence how the war turns out.

We, the signatories of the petition, appreciate the united position of the member states, which together have stood up for the invaded Ukraine. Not only in words, but also in deeds. Humanitarian aid and military equipment are flowing to Ukraine. Unprecedented sanctions were imposed on the Russian Federation very quickly. Probably the strongest of these is the freezing of foreign exchange reserves, which took place so quickly that Russia did not manage to withdraw them. Also thanks to these steps, the brave Ukrainians are defending themselves more successfully than expected.

However, even though Russian troops are advancing slowly, they are still advancing. Still, we may well have a way to stop their further advance completely and reverse the situation in favour of Ukraine. War is a costly affair, and we pay hundreds of millions of euros for Russian oil and natural gas every day (in 2020 it was on average € 154 million a day [1], now it is several times more due to the higher prices). By buying fossil fuels from Russia, we are actually co-financing the very thing we want to stop. At the same time, Russia is already nearly insolvent [2], and if we stop buying its oil and gas, we will significantly reduce its ability to continue the war.

Besides the practical, military-economic view, there is also an ethical view. Due to Russian military failures, Vladimir Putin has resorted to attacks on civilian targets and as such has effectively become a terrorist. From this point of view, the Russian Federation under his leadership is a terrorist organization, and the EU is involved in terrorist financing by purchasing its fossil fuels.

Let us add also a purely pragmatic view. Possible interruption of fossil fuel imports from Russia will of course have a negative impact on the European economy. On the other hand, if we do not take further steps to stop Putin’s aggression, it is likely that the impact will be much worse. A shadow of complicity will fall on us. There will be many millions of Ukrainian refugees in the EU. We will lose the ‘breadbasket of Europe’, as Ukraine is rightly called. Our inaction will whet dictator Putin’s appetite, and Russia will continue its expansion. Meanwhile, our weakened position could provide an incentive for the People’s Republic of China to strengthen its influence in Europe and in the world.

For all the reasons given above, we call on you to stop, with immediate effect, all purchases of fossil fuels by the EU from the Russian Federation. This interruption of purchases is but a temporary measure to stop the war. As soon as Russia ceases to occupy and attack Ukraine, the purchases can resume in full.

The EU has stock of natural gas and oil for at least three months [3,4], and it can thus afford a temporary suspension of purchases from Russia. During this time, Vladimir Putin may be forced by the failing Russian economy to withdraw his troops from Ukraine, or he may be overthrown by disgruntled people around him. During these three months, the EU can also prepare for the worse scenario, which is that the war continues and the resumption of oil and gas supplies from Russia is unacceptable.

We are aware that mere interruption of fossil fuel imports from Russia would drive the prices of the fuels in the EU to unbearable heights. We are therefore asking you to introduce necessary regulations along with the embargo, even if it means restricting the free market. A free market can only work well in a stable and fair legal environment. Sadly, this is not the case for an environment where war is taking place. If the situation worsens and it becomes necessary to introduce a petrol rationing system, for example, we are ready to bear such measures.

Nonetheless, we believe that this will not be necessary. Vladimir Putin habitually threatens to cut off our oil or gas supplies, but he has not yet done so. This indicates that he needs our money more than we need his oil and gas. We are economically stronger, and we should work this to our advantage.

Glory to Ukraine!

Jan Lachnitt, Physics student, Czechia

Martin Svárovský, Head of Security Strategies Program at the European Values Center for Security Policy, Czechia

Lucie Javůrková, Manager in a non-profit organization, Czechia

Jana Plavec, Photographer, Czechia

Elizabet Kovačeva, Translator, Czechia

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