The UK announced on Tuesday that it would 'phase out' imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of this year.
'The UK will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022,' Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said on Twitter.
Kwarteng said the transition would 'give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports,' which he said make up 8% of UK demand.
'Businesses should use this year to ensure a smooth transition so that consumers will not be affected.'
He also vowed that the government would work with companies through a new taskforce on oil to 'support them to make use of this period in finding alternative supplies.'
Underlining that the UK is a 'significant producer of oil and oil products,' he noted that it also holds 'significant' oil reserves.
'Beyond Russia, the vast majority of our imports come from reliable partners such as the US, Netherlands and the Gulf. We'll work with them this year to secure further supplies.'
The British secretary also wrote on Twitter that the market has already 'begun to ostracize Russian oil, with nearly 70% of it currently unable to find a buyer.'
'Finally, while the UK is not dependent on Russian natural gas -- 4% of our supply -- I am exploring options to end this altogether.'
- New ‘blow to the Putin regime’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the move as “another economic blow to the (Vladimir) Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine,” and said that “the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions.”
“Working with industry, we are confident that this can be achieved over the course of the year, providing enough time for companies to adjust and ensuring consumers are protected,” Johnson said.
A government statement later said that “this significant move will increase the growing pressure on Russia’s economy by choking off a valuable source of income and hitting its ability to impose further misery on the Ukrainian people.”
“The elimination of oil imports is in addition to existing trade, financial and personal sanctions already imposed by the UK against Putin’s regime and those who support him in his war against Ukraine.”
By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal