The EU’s energy war with Russia has entered a new phase and there are signs that the Kremlin is starting to feel the pain.
As of Sunday, it is illegal to import petroleum products — those refined from crude oil, such as diesel, gasoline and naphtha — from Russia into the EU. That comes hot on the heels of the EU’s December ban on Russian seaborne crude oil.
Both measures are also linked to price caps imposed by the G7 club of rich democracies aimed at driving down the price that Russia gets for its oil and refined products without disrupting global energy markets.
Those actions appear to have bitten into the Kremlin’s budget in a way other economic penalties levied in retaliation for Russia's invasion of Ukraine have not.
The Kremlin’s tax income from oil and gas in January was among its lowest monthly totals since the depths of COVID in 2020, according to Janis Kluge, senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
Kluge noted that while Russia’s 2023 budget anticipates 9 trillion rubles (€120 billion) in fossil fuel income, in January it earned only 425 billion rubles from oil and gas taxes, around half compared to the same month last year.