Putin may collect $321 billion in 2022 if oil and gas keep flowing, Bloomberg estimates. This amount is huge financial support for the war. For comparison, Ukraine spends $10 billion per month on its military during the current war, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
Only on 29-30 March 2022, at least eight oil tankers transported about 1,000,000 tons of Russian oil through the Dardanelles. 1,000,000 tons of Russian URALS oil costs about $680 million, which is equivalent to the cost of about 100 Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, Black Sea news writes.
On 12 March 2022, activists started a blockade of the Belarusian-Polish border, demanding to stop trade with Russia amid its invasion and mass killings in Ukraine. The Polish government said it supports the blockade but the EU decision is needed. The governments of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have officially called on the European Union to ban transporting goods from the EU to Belarus and Russia.
That is why participants in the blockade first went to Germany and handed over a letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, then blocked the A2 highway, which connects Poland and Germany.
“We are demanding that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stop trading with Russia. For weeks, the German government has been ignoring our appeals, so we began a peaceful blockade of the A2 highway, which connects Poland and Germany. We want to awaken the conscience of the German people! More than 100,000 Russian soldiers kill Ukrainians every day, most Russians support the crime, but Germany continues to trade with Russia, which supports the Russian economy and sponsors the war. For the German money, Russia buys and produces bombs, rockets, and weapons, used to kill peaceful Ukrainian people and children. Stop financially supporting the aggressor! See the suffering of millions of Ukrainians who have been living in basements for more than a month, hiding from the Russian occupiers.”
Citizens of Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine participated in the rally, according to organizers.
“Every truck to Russia strengthens its criminal power. Every cargo is a new Russian bomb for Ukraine, every agreement is blood on hand. We must stop this because otherwise, we will go down in history for the second time: (co) responsible for mass crimes against the Ukrainian people. “German” progress through trade “is leading to death today,” – said German activist Steve Nauk.
“We have blocked thousands of trucks that are bringing goods from Germany to Russia and Belarus. We demand to strop trade of the EU with Russia. We try to reach Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Maybe if this line of trucks reaches Berlin, Olaf Scholz will finally hear us and stop trade with Russia; stop being the official sponsor of war and massacre,” one of the leaders of the blockade Natalka Panchenko said.
Following the terrible images from Bucha and Mariupol with hundreds of civilians executed, the warning that Putin can conduct genocide in Ukraine becomes very real. Putin himself stated that “The Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist.”
Ukrainian historian Vakhtang Kipiani wrote after seeing photos from Bucha that what happened there was not unexpected, given Russia’s historical propensity for atrocities. Many more crimes are possible in Ukraine, given Putin’s reasoning that Ukraine should not exist and previous crimes that Russians conducted in Ukraine and may wish to repeat to suppress resistance. That explains why Ukrainian politicians are calling on the West for sanctions and weapons so that we would not see such terrible historical incidents repeated:
- Slovo House and Sandarmokh execution in 1932
- Holodomor genocide in 1933
- 1941 massacre in Lviv
- Baturyn massacre in 1708
“Germany wants to make money, but these millions are sprinkled with the blood of Ukrainian citizens. This is dirty money. If the Russians were killing thousands of Germans now, would the Chancellor also support the trade with murderers?” asks the participant of the blockade, Polish journalist Pavel Bobolovich.
Activists say that most goods are transported to Russia from Germany, France, and Italy. Germany at the same time is the most dependent on Russian gas supplies. On 3 April, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia cut off Russian gas imports and urged the EU to do the same.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said on 3 April that the next package of sanctions that the EU is preparing is an “insufficient response to Russian crimes.” According to Kuleba, the sanctions must be strengthened, and the 5th package must include
- new Russian banks disconnected on SWIFT,
- measures to introduce an embargo on Russian oil, gas, and coal,
- and the closure of EU ports for Russian vessels and goods.
“In recent weeks, the EU has been struggling to adopt the 5th package of sanctions. As it stands now it is an insufficient response to Russian crimes and aggression. I know what is in the package now. If we see the package as it stands we will have to come out publicly and make an objective assessment of the inadequacy of the European response… G7 Foreign Ministers will be meeting and I have the same demand for them. Of course, I would like to be diplomatic and say ‘I call, I encourage’. But after seeing Ukrainian suffering from Bucha I can not politely ‘call on’ and ‘encourage’, I can only demand,” Kuleba said.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) April 3, 2022