Problem with “embargo”? Ukraine has a wonderful lever in its hands – the Druzhba pipeline, a separate section of which is going to Hungary

We hung up on the loud word "embargo" on Russian oil and get stuck in an endless discussion about bans on Russian energy. At the same time, adviser to the Minister of Energy of Ukraine Lana Zerkal reminds that we forgot other opportunities to punish the Russians for the war in Europe on Ukrainian territory.

Focusing on an embargo that will not be implemented becomes even more harmful. This enabled Orban and Hungary to blackmail the EU and constantly raise the stakes in this "blood debate". The fundamental thing for Orban is to take advantage of the situation and get as much money as possible from the EU. It is not only about funds for the construction of a new oil pipeline, but also about unlocking other funds. All in order "not to destroy European unity."

To the delight of the Russians, the European struggle over the embargo is also raising oil and fuel prices - the uncertainty of the situation makes the market nervous.

Meanwhile, the embargo is not the only way to deprive Russians of billions in profits. For some reason, we stopped promoting Ukraine's proposal to accumulate funds for the sale of Russian energy resources in a separate escrow account. The idea did not find much support in the EU and hung in the air. If Ukraine does not promote this idea, it will remain in the air.

Photo: Lana Zerkal

And we can speak to Orban in a language he understands: the language of strength. This is not a very diplomatic tactic, but predators cannot be treated differently.

Hungary complains that it depends on the Druzhba pipeline. But firstly, it has already given up Russian oil when it was contaminated with chlorine in 2019, and secondly, this pipeline passes through Ukrainian territory, and in Ukraine the war and our interest in the Russia's soonest shutdown of all financial sources that feed this war. That is why all the levers are important, especially in the situation of pressure on Budapest.

Of course, there are other options that we have already offered in our vote in the Energy Community. Analytics on them have already been developed, because without calculations all the "options" are a simple waste of time and opportunities.

But further development and tactics are a matter for senior management to decide. We only remind you of the opportunities we have - together with experts during the discussion at the Kyiv Security Forum.

And the Russians continue to make money. And that money is crazy now, sometimes over a billion a day. Of course, it is a pity that these funds go to the budget of the Russian Federation and do not accumulate in a separate escrow account. At the same time, unfortunately, our proposal to accumulate funds for the sale of Russian energy resources did not find much support in the European Union. And it hung a little in the air, because we promote it, but frankly not very much. We are all obsessed with the very loud word of the embargo, and even we do not understand that with this word we are also bidding prices that are constantly rising and the deficit that appears in the markets. Because the market is now in a panic what will happen next. And all the uncertainty turns into rising prices. Of course, no one immediately notices that there is a movement to free up the opportunities of Vinisuela, which is already looking at the EU as a potential market.

As for Hungary, it took advantage of the situation and in fact we and the EU gave it such an opportunity. Their appetite for EU funds is growing every day and they have decided that they have a prime time when they can demand anything so as not to destroy European unity. Unfortunately, they were allowed to do so, and in fact the European Commission had to make changes to its policy and allow it to invest and use European funds even to build a new pipeline. Not to mention the re-equipment of refineries. But that's not all. Of course, they still receive all the funds that were frozen in other programs. And this is really sad, because Ukraine has a wonderful lever in its hands - the Druzhba oil pipeline. And even if we value relations with Slovakia, which also receives oil through the Druzhba pipeline, a separate section of this pipeline is going to Hungary. And in my opinion, it would be very appropriate if something happened to it. But again, it is in the hands of the government and the President to decide political issues. Do we really want to speak to Orban in the language he understands and which he imposes on the EU or are we not ready for that yet?



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