British Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes that the West made a terrible mistake by allowing, in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin to get away with the annexation of Crimea.
In an article published today by the British newspaper Daily Telegraph, the Tory leader also stresses that ending the West’s current dependence on Russian oil and gas is vital to ending the bullying perpetrated by the Kremlin.
“When Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine the first time round, in 2014, the West made a terrible mistake. The Russian leader had committed an act of violent aggression and taken a huge chunk out of a sovereign country – and we let him get away with it,” Johnson says of Russia’s annexation of Crimea—which is now home to a sizeable Russian military presence.
The British premier stresses that the only way to end the “continuous blackmail” exercised by Putin is to end the dependence on Russia’s oil and gas by Western countries, a process that could prove “painful,” he admits.
Johnson is preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries to hold negotiations on the possibility of increasing oil and gas production to compensate for reduced dependence on Russia.
On the 8th, the British government announced that the UK will gradually reduce imports of Russian oil and stop buying crude oil from Moscow by the end of this year.
As announced then by the British Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, this “transition” period will give the British market nine months to adjust to the changes and secure new supply routes once Russian crude oil and oil derivatives, which account for 8% of British demand, are banned.
The London government is also exploring the option of vetoing gas purchases as punishment for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.