EU spends 35 times more on Russian energy than weapons for Ukraine

Pressure grows on European countries to end all Kremlin-controlled gas imports, as scale of dependency on Vladimir Putin is revealed.


6 April 2022

The European Union spent 35 times more on Russian energy imports than weapons for Ukraine since Vladimir Putin’s invasion, the bloc’s foreign affairs chief has admitted.

The EU paid Moscow €35 billion, Josep Borrell told the European Parliament, compared to just €1 billion in aid for arms to Kyiv. 

While he said the money for arms for Ukraine “might seem a lot”, he added: “€1 billion is what we pay Putin every day for the energy he provides us.”

Britain has announced that it will end all dependency on Russian coal and oil by the end of the year, and gas imports “as soon as possible” afterwards.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, urged European and G7 allies to agree to a timetable to end all imports of Kremlin-controlled fossil fuels. 

As Nato and G7 foreign ministers met in Brussels, she warned that Britain would never normalise relations with Moscow until its leaders faced justice for suspected war crimes in Ukraine.

Writing exclusively for The Telegraph, Ms Truss said: “If and when we do engage, it will be on our terms. Our starting point will be our resilience, defence and deterrence, and that Russia faces justice for its heinous crimes.

“Now is the time to be strong to ensure we see off Putin’s aggression for good. We must go further to cripple Putin’s war machine through sanctions.”

The UK imposed an asset freeze on Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, banned UK investment in the country – which was worth more than £11 billion in 2020 – and will legislate to prohibit imports of iron and steel.  

Eight oligarchs, including the director of a company making military vehicles, were sanctioned. Britain restricted the sale of some advanced technologies and banned the export of oil refining equipment to Russia. 

An EU ban on Russian coal, the bloc’s first such move against Moscow’s energy exports, was delayed on Wednesday amid uncertainty it would apply to existing or only new contracts. 

Sources are optimistic it will be approved by ambassadors on Thursday. However, the EU is not planning immediate sanctions against gas because of opposition from member states dependent on Russian supplies, such as Germany and Hungary.

Germany has pledged to end gas imports by mid-2024. Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said in the Bundestag: “Dependencies have grown over decades and cannot be changed from one day to the next.”  

Brussels is preparing a sixth round of sanctions, which includes an embargo on Russian oil. However, the measures need the unanimous backing of all 27 EU member states.  

At a press conference to celebrate his landslide re-election victory, Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, has vowed to block any EU sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

Viktor Orban, Hungary's re-elected prime minister, at a press conference on Wednesday. He has said he will block sanctions against Russia
Viktor Orban, Hungary’s re-elected prime minister, at a press conference on Wednesday. He has said he will block sanctions against RussiaCREDIT: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

Mr Orban, who will not allow Western weapons for Ukraine to pass through his country, won a fourth consecutive term on Sunday after campaigning on a platform of keeping Hungary out of the war. 

“We will certainly not be supplying arms to Ukraine,” he said. “That also applies to the extension of sanctions against Russia to gas and oil.”

He insisted he was on the same side as the EU and Nato and opposed the invasion of Ukraine.

Hungary, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas and oil imports, signed a new 15-year gas supply deal last year. Gazprom is expected to ship 4.5 billion cubic metres of gas annually to the country.

“Hungary can only get energy from pipelines – if sanctions are imposed, there will be none,” Mr Orban said, as he vowed to resist pressure from his EU allies for tougher action.

Breaking ranks with other EU leaders, Mr Orban said it would be “no problem” for Hungary to agree to a Russian demand that Kremlin-controlled gas be paid for in roubles.

He ruled out Hungary joining coordinated European expulsions of Russian diplomats after countries including Italy, France and Germany told suspected spies to leave. 

“We do not plan any expulsions and do not support them,” said Mr Orban, whose Right-wing Fidesz party secured a two-thirds majority in the parliament.

The nationalist leader, who has backed previous EU sanctions against Russia, said he had invited Putin to Budapest for ceasefire talks with the president of Ukraine. 

He said Volodymyr Zelensky, who has criticised the Hungarian prime minister for being soft on Russia, had “a bad habit of telling everyone what to do”. 

“It’s unusual for someone in trouble to ask for help and tell you to help him, and if you don’t help him, he’ll tell you off,” Mr Orban said after Ukraine’s ambassador was summoned for a dressing down in Budapest. 

Mr Orban admitted his stance had alienated long-term ally Poland, which backs sanctions on oil and gas. 

Some leaders did not congratulate him on his victory and he faces legal action from Brussels that could freeze EU funding over rule of law concerns.

Speaking to the Irish parliament and senate, Mr Zelensky said he could no longer “tolerate any indecisiveness” over EU sanctions “after everything that we have gone through in Ukraine, after everything that Russian troops have done”.

On Wednesday, the United States hit Russian banks and banned Americans from investing in Russia, in response to what Joe Biden, the US president, condemned as Russian “atrocities”.

They hit Sberbank, which holds one-third of Russia’s total banking assets, and Alfabank, the country’s fourth largest financial institution. However, energy transactions were exempted from the latest measures.

Katerina Tikhonova, Vladimir Putin's daughter, is being targeted in the latest round of sanctions
Katerina Tikhonova, Vladimir Putin’s daughter, is being targeted in the latest round of sanctions CREDIT: Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina

Putin’s two adult daughters, the wife and daughter of Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and senior members of Russia’s security council are also being sanctioned, officials said.


  1. Certainly, Europe has a serious problem with itself. It’s falling apart because of very poor leadership. It’s not only trash country mafia land looming on the horizon, but bat virus land and the shithole India too. Just think, together these three asshole countries make up around three BILLION people. How many are there in the West?
    We are also sliding into a cesspool with a president like Biden. I hope that we have learned our lesson voting weakness and cowardice into the White House. I hope Europe has learned its lessons too, having such shit-for-brains as Schröder, Merkel, Steinmeier, Sarkozy, Macron, Orban, Kurz et al.

  2. How will Hungary, a land locked country, get that oil and gas if his neighbors refuse transit?

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