Biden understands EU can't cut off Russian gas immediately, Dutch PM says
United States President Joe Biden understands that the European Union continues to buy gas, oil, and coal from Russia, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. Even though Russia uses the proceeds for the war in Ukraine. Biden, who attended the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday evening, does want to help the EU find alternatives to Russian fossil fuels more quickly.
The US itself implemented an oil boycott against Russia. Before his visit to Brussels, where he attended three summits and met with every notable Western leader, Biden urged the EU also to get rid of Russian fossil fuels. But Biden "understands very well" that it will take a lot of time, Rutte said afterward.
Other possible additional sanctions, such as closing European ports to Russian ships, were also not forthcoming on Thursday. The EU will focus on making the sanctions already taken work better, the leaders agreed. Europe and the US will work together to eliminate shortcuts and close loopholes.
Meanwhile, Biden promised that the EU could count on more liquefied gas (LNG) from the US. And "that's a lot," said Rutte. Canada also promised to supply Europe with more LNG, but that will take a little longer.
Unity was the keyword of the summit marathon, according to Rutte. Some EU countries are so dependent on Russian energy that "national security is at stake" without it. According to the prime minister, countries like Germany, Italy, and Hungary cannot get rid of it yet.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insistently addressed Hungary, whose Prime Minister is still trying to remain friends with the Kremlin, during the EU Summit. Zelenskyy again called in and asked Prime Minister Viktor Orban to consider what he actually stands for. And, now that Ukraine's Mariupol has been razed to the ground, to think back to times when similar things happened to Hungary.
Zelenskyy also directly addressed the Netherlands, an outspoken opponent accelerating Ukraine's candidacy for EU membership. "The Netherlands is rational," said Zelenskyy. "So let's find words that we both can support."
Reporting by ANP.