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War in Ukraine: the G7 pledges to no longer buy Russian oil

“The entire G7 today pledged to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil,” the White House said in a statement on Sunday May 8. This decision “will deal a blow to the main artery irrigating the economy of (Vladimir) Putin and deprive him of the income he needs to finance his war” against Ukraine, says the American executive. This weaning will be done “in an appropriate and reasoned manner”, write the Heads of State and Government of the G7 countries in their final communiqué, which does not, however, specify what commitments exactly each of them has made, namely the Germany (which holds the presidency this year), Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The G7 held its third meeting of the year by videoconference on Sunday, with the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It lasted a little over an hour, according to the Americans. As Vladimir Putin prepares to celebrate with great fanfare the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany on Monday, May 9, his actions in Ukraine “cover Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people with shame”, says indignant the G7 countries in their joint press release. The Heads of State and Government reaffirmed to the President of Ukraine their “commitment to take further steps to help Ukraine secure a free and democratic future” and to “defend and repel future acts of assault”.

different rhythms

The West has so far shown very close coordination in their announcements of sanctions against Russia, but they are not moving at the same pace when it comes to Russian oil and gas. The United States, which were not big consumers, have already banned the import of Russian hydrocarbons. The member states of the European Union, under pressure to join the movement, but much more dependent on Russia, continued Sunday to carry out difficult negotiations to set up an embargo on Russian oil. The project is being held up by several Member States, notably Hungary.

Washington, for its part, announced in a statement from the White House on Sunday a new round of sanctions against Russia, around two major axes: the media, and the access of Russian companies and large fortunes to consulting and accounting services. of which the Americans and the British are the world’s leading specialists. The United States will sanction the television channels Pervy Kanal, Rossiïa-1 and NTV. Any American company will be prohibited from financing them by advertising or selling them equipment. “No American company should participate in the financing of Russian propaganda,” said a senior White House official, who requested anonymity, stressing that these media were directly or indirectly controlled by the Kremlin.

Strengthen the “insulation” of Russia

Another line of attack from Washington: prohibit the provision of “auditing, management, consulting, marketing services, all services used to operate multinational companies, but also potentially to circumvent sanctions or conceal evil wealth. acquired,” said the same source. She underlined that while the Europeans had the closest industrial ties with Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom, on the other hand, dominated the universe of services, in particular through the “Big Four”, the four world giants of audit and consultancy Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC.

In its statement, the G7 as a whole also said it was determined to “prohibit or prevent the supply of key services” to Russia in order to reinforce its “insulation”. The West also promises to “continue to act against Russian banks connected to the global economy”, to “continue to fight the Russian regime’s attempts to spread its propaganda” and to harden its “campaign against the (Russian) elites and their families”.

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