Russia’s war in Ukraine has reached its 108th day. The reality of Russia’s aggression has been seen in the city of Mariupol, where 1,300 high-rise buildings have been demolished. That’s according to Vadym Boichenko, mayor of the city. He said cholera and other deadly diseases could lead to thousands more deaths in the southern Ukrainian city. While Ukraine has been severely impacted by the fighting, it seems Russian President Vladimir Putin could also face a crisis at home in the future.
Roger Boyes, The Times’ diplomatic editor, said this week that Russia faces an economic crisis and could go “broke” as countries turn away from Russian oil and gas.
Speaking to Times Radio, he said : “The source of Russia’s wealth, fossil fuels, is dribbling away.
“This is because of the climate change action that is happening. Putin thought he could wing it…but by choosing to invade Ukraine at the time he did he is accelerating everyone’s plans to drop oil and gas.
“The end result is Russia is going to get poorer, faster than they expected. And Putin is going to be the man at the helm.
“It’s a lot to worry about. Russia is going to go broke really quite fast now.”
A major debate in the EU is the prospect of banning Russian gas in order to hit Moscow’s economy.
One stumbling block for Europe has been Hungary.
This week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said it would be “impossible” to ban Russian gas.
He said: “When we impose sanctions, then we have to make sure that those sanctions are hurting more those against whom we impose the sanctions than ourselves.
“We have to have a very clear position on the war, which we do have, we condemn Russia for this military aggression. We stand with Ukraine. But we have to take into consideration reality as well.
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“If you’re not able to import gas from Russia, then the country stops, [the] economy stops, we cannot heat the houses, we cannot run the economy. Our question is who can offer a solution?”
According to reports, Germany has begun preparing for an abrupt end to the use of Russian gas.
Russian gas accounted for 55 percent of Germany’s imports last year, but Berlin is now being pressured to end this reliance due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Germany has said it wants to wean itself off Russian supplies but warns it could still be reliant on Russian gas until 2024.
In April, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country will stop importing Russian gas “very soon”.
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He said: “We are actively working to get independent from the import of oil and we think that we will be able to make it during this year. And we are actively working to get independent from the necessity of importing gas from Russia.
“This is, as you may imagine, not that easy, because it needs infrastructure to be built.”
His comments came while he met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street.
Mr Johnson added: “I have got to say, negotiating with Putin does not seem to be full of promise or that he can be trusted.
“This is not easy for any of us and I applaud the seismic decisions taken by Olaf’s government to move Germany away from Russian hydrocarbons.
“We cannot transform our respective energy systems overnight, but we also know that Putin’s war will not end overnight”.