(Al Jazeera) Russia will not sell oil to any country that imposes a price cap on its oil exports and is considering reducing its oil production, President Vladimir Putin says.
On Monday, the Group of Seven, European Union and Australia imposed a price limit on Russian oil of $60 per barrel in a move aimed at reducing Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine.
“I have already said that we simply will not sell to those countries that make such decisions,” Putin said on Friday at a news conference held after a regional summit in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek.
“We will consider a possible reduction in production if necessary,” he added, calling the price cap a “stupid decision” that is “harmful to global energy markets”.
Putin also touched on several other subjects during the news conference. Here’s a roundup of what he said:
“Who is Yashin?” asked the Russian leader, responding to a question from a reporter. Just a few hours earlier, opposition leader Ilya Yashin, 39, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for spreading “fake information”. Yashin was indicted after discussing evidence of Russian atrocities perpetrated in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, north of Kyiv, casting doubts on the Kremlin’s narrative that said such reports had been fabricated as a “provocation” against Russia. Putin said it was wrong to doubt a court’s decision.
Putin said further prisoner swaps between the United States and Russia were possible and contacts between the two countries’ intelligence services would continue. He made the comment a day after US basketball star Brittney Griner was swapped for arms dealer Viktor Bout. “Contacts continue. In fact, they have never stopped,” Putin said. “… We do not reject continuing this work in the future.” Russia continues to hold Paul Whelan, a former US marine who was convicted of espionage in 2020 in a trial that US diplomats said had been unfair and opaque.
Putin said Russia has no mandate to launch a preventive first nuclear strike, unlike the US, but Russia’s advanced hypersonic weapons would ensure Russia could respond forcefully if it ever came under attack.
The Russian leader acknowledged problems with procuring equipment and clothes for the hundreds of thousands of troops Moscow has conscripted to fight in Ukraine in recent months. He said some of the issues related to supplying the 300,000 men who were called up in a mobilisation drive in September and October were now easing.
Putin said he was “disappointed” by comments made by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told a German magazine that peace agreements aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine that began in 2014 had been an attempt to “give Ukraine time” to build up its defences. Russia-backed separatists seized parts of eastern Ukraine following Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The peace deals were never fully implemented.
Putin said Russia would likely have to reach a peace agreement regarding Ukraine in the future, but felt betrayed by the breakdown of the earlier Minsk agreements. Putin said mediators Germany and France had betrayed Russia and were now pumping Kyiv with weapons.