Earthquake hazard and risk: Explanation of what it means

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The West has slapped down a series of harsh sanctions on Russia over the brutal invasion of Ukraine which began in February. Now, more damage is on the way as the EU looks set to scupper its remaining energy ties with Russia. Danil Bochkov, an expert from the Russian Affairs Council tweeted: “Russian Central Bank: Today’s crisis is one of the most serious challenges for Russia since the 1990s. “The Russian economy will adapt to the sanctions only by mid-2023.”

Not only have sanctions targeted banks, oligarchs and those with close ties to Putin, but Russia’s energy sector is also set to take a beating.

US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order back in March which banned the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal.

The UK has also pledged to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year.

But in what could be the hammer blow to Putin’s energy empire, the EU is mulling over a complete ban of Russian oil.

While it has taken the bloc longer than its Western counterparts to put this option on the table, the move will deprive Russia of billions.

Last year, the EU imported €48.5billion (£38billion) of crude oil in 2021, and €22.5billion (£19billion) of petroleum oils other than crude.

Ukrainian energy advisor Pavlo Kutvah told Express.co.uk: “The Russian economic model is that of a gas station essentially.

“They are selling oil and gas and that is their main revenue, and this is what funds both their corrupt elite and their war effort.

“So, of course, any kind of hit to that is a huge blow to the Russian economy and a huge step towards pacifying Russia.”

In fact, EU’s Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell noted in April that the bloc had given Putin €35billion (£30billion) for energy imports since the start of the war.

And despite hold up from Hungary, which has opposed the recent proposal for an oil ban from Ursula von der Leyen, once the EU pulls the plug on these imports, the Russian economy will likely be hit hard.

Russia’s tech sector has also been battered by sanctions.

The US slapped a ban on selling high-tech products such as semiconductors used by Russia just days after it invaded Ukraine.

The result has been that technology exports to Russia have been slashed by nearly 70 percent since mid-February.

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Thea Rozman Kendler, assistant secretary for export administration, said in a speech: “Unlike financial sanctions, our export controls measures were never expected to have immediate effects.”

She added that “compared to the same time period last year, US exports to Russia of items subject to new licensing requirements have decreased by 99 percent by value”.

Several Russian banks have also been crippled after being removed from an international payment system known as SWIFT.

Cutting off the banks from this system means they “are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally”, the EU, US and others have said.

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