Ex Ukrainian leader slams Macron hesitancy
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The French President has called for an embargo to be placed on Russian oil and coal as the West tries to wean itself off Putin’s fossil fuels. It comes after Russian troops were hit with accusations of war crimes after reportedly killing civilians in the town of Bucha, sparking calls for a fresh wave of sanctions. Mr Macron suggested that sanctioning Russia’s oil and gas sector would be “particularly” painful for Putin.
But critics are furious that the French President has not gone the whole hog and called for a gas ban as well.
@sandieshoes tweeted: “Emmanuel Macron calls for a Russian coal and oil ban over ‘war crimes in the city of Bucha’.
“Macron with an election looming doesn’t call for a ban on gas. Coward.”
Security expert Richard James added: “You can’t negotiate with the devil. Cut of Putin’s funding source, stop buying Russian gas, oil and coal now.
“Poland has already unleashed fury over France’s position on Putin.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has even gone so far as to compare Mr Macron’s 17 meetings with Putin to negotiating with Hitler.
He said: “President Macron, how many times have you negotiated with Putin? What have you achieved?
“Have you stopped any of the actions that have taken place?”
He added: “Criminals are not negotiated with, criminals must be fought. Nobody negotiated with Hitler.
“You would negotiate with Hitler, with Stalin, with Pol Pot afterwards?”
It also comes after Poland went all guns blazing by pledging to slap tough sanctions on Russia by completely scuppering energy ties.
Mr Morawiecki last week unveiled what he called the “most radical” plan made by any country.
He said: “Today we present the most radical plan in Europe to move away from Russian hydrocarbons – Russian oil, Russian gas and Russian coal.
“When others in Europe looked at Russia as a business partner, we knew that Russia was primarily using gas as an instrument of blackmail.
“That is why we have been persuading for years to take the tools of blackmail from Putin and Russia.”
Meanwhile, France still appears reluctant to take Russia’s gas off the table.
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While the country gets 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy, it gets around 20 percent of its gas from Russia.
This is still not as much as countries like Germany, which gets around half of its gas from Russia.
But the EU as a whole has come under close scrutiny for handing Putin billions for his energy imports, particularly since the Russian President launched his attack on Ukraine.
According to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a European think tank, the bloc has paid Russia nearly €19billion (£16billion) since the war began in mid-February.
And there are several French companies that have played a significant part.
While some energy giants such as Shell and BP have announced they were immediately pulling out of Russian projects, French-owned Total Energies
said it would wait until the end of the year to stop buying Russian products.
Yannick Jadot, a candidate for the French Greens in the upcoming presidential elections, said the decision “completely discredits France”.
He even claimed that it made the company “complicit in war crimes”.
Total Energies CEO Patrick Pouyanné said: “If I decide to stop importing Russian gas, I don’t know how to replace it, I don’t have any available.
“I have 25-year-long contracts and I don’t know how to get out of these contracts.”
Other figures in France have also raised the alarm at the prospect of the country going without Russian gas.
Caroline Mini, senior project manager at the French think tank La Fabrique de l’industrie, told EURACTIV: “If we do without Russian gas, there will be gas rationing in France during the winter of 2023 and it is the manufacturers who could be affected first.”
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