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Russia Plays Hardball With Blockage of Ukraine Grain Exports | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia's weapon: blocking Ukraine grain exports

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden shares his view from Bratislava, Slovakia.

What's going to be the effect of the EU sanctions on Russian oil exports?

Well, that's going to be somewhat dependent on what happens primarily with oil price. If the oil price were to go up, then in spite of exporting less quantities, Russia will probably earn more money. If the oil price goes down or stays stable, they will be able to gain less, especially since they will have to export at significant discount prices to the people that are ready to buy their oil. So remains to be seen, but a significant step.

Is there any prospect for really releasing all of the grain for the world markets from Ukraine, that Russia is blocking?

It doesn't look very good. Russia is saying "well, well, well, we can lift the blockage of the Black Sea, but that's only if you lift all of the sanctions on us", so they're playing hardball. But effectively, they are now using the restrictions on grain and other products coming out of Ukraine as a weapon against the rest of the world. And that is of course affecting a lot of people. Different studies say that we have perhaps up to 400 million people, in the poorer part of the world, that's going to be very hardly hit by these particular aspects of the brutal Russian aggression.

Annie Gugliotta

A guide to the EU’s lukewarm Russian oil embargo

After months of diplomatic wrangling, it seemed this week like the European Union had finally made a big breakthrough in its effort to punish President Vladimir Putin for attacking Ukraine. Oil prices soared, and gas hit new highs after Brussels announced that it had reached an agreement to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

But the agreement also includes a slate of carve-outs and caveats that could dilute the bloc’s effort to decapitate the Kremlin’s war machine.

What’s in the deal?

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Watch For A Shifting War Narrative | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Europe’s oil sanctions and a shifting Russian war narrative to come

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and I am back in New York City with a Quick Take to kick off the week. And the big news, a hundred days in just about continues to be, yes, the Russian war in Ukraine. And most importantly, in the last 24 hours, the sixth round of sanctions agreement coming from the Europeans, most importantly, essentially an oil boycott.

Now there's a lot of back and forth on what exactly this means because the Hungarians, with Viktor Orban, much more aligned with the Russian president and also very dependent on energy from Russia, was extremely obstreperous and basically refused to participate in the deal. So they got an extension and that extension is temporary but undefined.

What that basically means is that the boycott is on oil that's transferred through ships as opposed to by pipe. And that means that a bunch of the East Europeans will be excluded from it, will still be buying Russian oil. But the reality is, two thirds of all the oil that Europe gets from Russia is already going to be cut out. And if you add to that, what the Germans and the Poles are doing, their pledges to wind down their own pipeline imports by the end of the year, you're talking about 90% of Russian crude to Europe is now going to be boycotted. That's a very big deal. That's a very big cost, billions and billions of dollars, to the Russians every year. Some of that they'll be able to sell at a discount to other countries around the world. Some of it they won't because there's going to be a challenge when most of the ships that they can get the oil out come from Europe and they need to be insured as well. And all of that is under direct sanction. It means the Russians are going to have a very hard time.

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Models of oil barrels seen in front of a "stop" sign and the EU and Russia flag colors.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Hard Numbers: EU bans (most) Russian oil, Israel-UAE trade deal, crowdfunded drone for Ukraine, Pokemon zero-COVID protest

2/3: After weeks of tense negotiations, EU leaders agreed late Monday to an embargo on two-thirds of the oil the bloc now imports from Russia. But there's a catch: holdout Hungary will likely get an indefinite exemption in order to drop its veto.

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Big Democracies That Depend On Russia | GZERO World

Big democracies that depend on Russia

Western leaders love to say that Russia's war in Ukraine is a fight for democracy itself.

But not all of the world's democracies agree.

India, the world's largest democracy, remains neutral and keeps buying Russian arms and oil.

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Models of oil barrels and a pump jack are seen in front of EU and Russia flag colors.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We’re Watching: Drawdown pledge, Europe veers away from Russia, Ethiopian peace hopes dashed, a Gulf non-starter

Fighting continues despite Russia’s drawdown pledge

The Pentagon said it believes the Kremlin was starting to reposition some of its troops away from Kyiv. But Russia continued to pound the Ukrainian capital with airstrikes and artillery while maintaining its ferocious bombardment of the besieged port city of Mariupol. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that bilateral peace talks were making “substantial progress,” but Ukrainian officials immediately disputed his claim that Kyiv had accepted the loss of Crimea and the Donbas as a “resolved question.” President Zelensky late Wednesday released a new video in which he said "we don't believe in fancy rhetorical constructions, we believe in what happens on the battlefield."

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Illustration of a pump jack in front of a "stop" sign, US and Russia flags.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We're Watching: Ukraine war bulletin, Hong Kong vs COVID, Pakistan's PM on the ropes

Oil ban, Churchill, Polish MiGs, Putin's fixes

Biden bans Russian oil, alone. The US president banned imports of Russian oil on Tuesday in a bid to increase economic pressure on the Kremlin. It’s not clear how effective this will be, given that the US accounts for less than 10% of Russia’s daily exports. Meanwhile, Europe, which slurps up almost half of those exports, has refused to join the oil ban for now, and there is virtually no chance of major customers like China or India turning down Russian crude. Meanwhile, Biden’s move carries political risks at home, as average national gas prices have already hit a record high of $4.17 per gallon — and that's months before the annual price rise normally associated with summer “driving season.” Taking more oil off the market could push pump prices even higher. As we head towards the midterm elections, how much economic pain will Americans take on behalf of Ukraine?

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Rising Energy Prices Will Test American Patience for Ukraine War | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Rising gas prices will test US resolve on Russian sanctions

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares his perspective on the US ban on Russian oil imports.

Today, Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports. What will this mean for Americans in the near-term?

Well, prices have already rocketed at the pump in result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine and the incredible sanctions that the US and the EU have put on Russia as a result. The average price for a retail gallon of gas has gone up 55 cents just in the last week, and it's likely to escalate even further with today's announcements, potentially reaching $5 or even $6 a gallon. This is unprecedented in the US and hearkens back to the energy price shocks of the 1970s that led to an inflationary price spiral that took years for the US economy to unwind. The Biden administration's signaling this is not the end of their escalation against Russia and is preparing the American people to bear some of the costs of these incredible actions.

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