This has tested Western resolve, something host Olaf Scholz admitted on Sunday at a meeting of G7 leaders in the Bavarian Alps. All G7 countries were concerned about the “crises we are currently facing,” the German chancellor said.
Boris Johnson also warned of “fatigue” among “populations and politicians”, but reiterated the need to maintain consensus, and Scholz said he was confident the group would send a “very clear signal of unity and decisive action”.
Reports that the G7 is closer to reaching agreement on a proposed price cap for Russian oil and gas are reassuring. Like any autocratic leader, Putin draws great strength from any sign of weakness in his enemies. Ukraine’s allies must stay the course and keep turning the screws.
With Joe Biden and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen leading the way, Britain, France and Italy are said to be backing a cap, and Berlin is expected to follow shortly, and the West may soon have a powerful new weapon at its disposal. .
The theory is that a buyers cartel would devalue the Kremlin’s most lucrative exports by selling and stocking only Russian oil and gas below a certain price, while a full-scale boycott has pushed prices up.
A plan to give China and India access to cheaper Russian energy is also a smart move, as the Kremlin had previously attempted to evade sanctions by selling its crude oil and gas to more sympathetic countries.
The Kremlin is wrong in claiming that the war has not changed anything. The standard, no matter how ‘developed’, is in itself proof that sanctions work.
Meanwhile, the promise of another round of punishments suggests that far from being weary or intimidated, the West remains more determined than ever to help Ukraine defeat Putin’s invading army.