Russia can easily redirect exports of its vast energy resources away from the West to countries that really need them while increasing domestic consumption of oil, gas and coal, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
The United States, Canada, Britain and Australia have imposed bans on Russian oil imports in response to what Moscow calls a special military operation in Ukraine, while the European Union remains divided on the issue.
“When it comes to Russian oil, gas and coal, we will be able to increase their consumption on the domestic market, stimulate the deep processing of raw materials,” Putin said at a televised meeting with officials to discuss the development of the Russian Arctic.
“We will also increase the supply of energy resources to other regions of the world where they are really needed.”
Putin said the West was to blame for the energy crunch it was experiencing because it would not cooperate with Russia.
“The refusal of several Western countries to cooperate (with Russia) normally, including with regards to Russian energy resources… has already hit millions of Europeans, provoked a real energy crisis,” he said.
“Of course we are also facing problems but this opens up new opportunities.”
Putin also said that “unfriendly countries” had destroyed supply chains in Russia’s Arctic regions and some nations were not fulfilling their contractual obligations, creating issues for Moscow.
Moscow is ready to sell oil and oil products to “friendly countries in any price range”, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov told Izvestia newspaper on Wednesday, as traditional buyers are shunning Russian supplies, forcing Moscow to cut oil output.
Russia says its aim is to demilitarize and “denazify” its southern neighbour in an operation that has been met with stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces and triggered sweeping Western sanctions.