A top Russian official called Sunday for a global ban on oil price caps, one day before a $60-per-barrel purchase cap on Russian oil announced by the European Union and U.S. goes into effect.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russia would trim production rather then sell under the cap.
“We will sell oil and oil products to those countries that will work with us on market conditions,” Novak said. He said the limit being imposed by the U.S. and much of Europe “runs counter to all the rules of the World Trade Organization.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said Saturday that Russia needed to analyze the cap and market conditions before deciding on a specific response.
Russia has been adding tankers to its shipping fleet in hopes of selling more oil to China, India and other nations since Europe has vastly cutback on pipeline purchases. But Western insurers are banned from insuring cargos not being traded under the cap, adding to Russia’s export woes.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative to international organizations in Vienna, tweeted that Europe will be forced to live without Russian oil.
“Very soon the #EU will blame #Russia for using oil as a weapon,” Ulyanov said.
►Russian crude has already fallen to near $60 per barrel despite the international benchmark Brent that closed Friday at $85.42.
►The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the cap was too high, urging adoption of a $30 cap.
RUSSIA REJECTS $60 CAP:West could be cut off from Russian oil, but has been shrinking purchases for months
Kherson still being battered despite retreat of Russian troops
Russian forces fled the southern Ukraine city of Kherson last month in a much-ballyhooed victory for Ukraine forces, but the region continues to be hammered by Russian shelling. Power outages are frequent, and Kherson regional Gov. Yaroslav Yanushkevich said evacuations of civilians stuck in Russian-held territory outside the city would resume temporarily.
Russian forces pulled back to the Dnieper River’s eastern bank last month. Yanushkevich said a ban on crossing the waterway would be lifted during daylight hours for Ukrainian citizens who “did not have time to leave the temporarily occupied territory.” His announcement cited a “possible intensification of hostilities in this area.”
Kherson is one of four regions that Russian leader Vladimir Putin illegally annexed in September and vowed to defend as Russian territory.
Contributing: The Associated Press