From 1 February, Russia will completely ban the sale of oil to countries that have introduced a price cap on its exports.
The $60 (€56) cap was agreed at the beginning of December by the EU, the G7 group of nations and Australia.
On 27 December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that read, “The delivery of Russian petroleum and petroleum products to foreign legal entities and other individuals is prohibited” if those countries use the ceiling price.
The decree specifies that this measure is planned for a period of five months, “until July 1, 2023”.
Only “a special decision” by Vladimir Putin himself can allow the delivery of Russian oil to one or more countries which have implemented the ceiling price in recent weeks, the decree indicates.
At the beginning of December, the 27 Member States of the European Union, the G7 countries and Australia reached an agreement, after months of negotiations, on a cap on the price of Russian oil for export.
In fact, only oil sold by Russia at a price equal to or less than $60 can continue to be delivered. Beyond this ceiling, it is prohibited for companies to provide services allowing its maritime transport (freight, insurance, etc.).
The objective of such a measure is to deprive Moscow of significant revenue to finance its military intervention in Ukraine.
However, the price of a barrel of Russian oil is currently fluctuating around $65, barely more than the fixed ceiling, indicating a limited short-term impact of this measure, according to many observers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had deplored “a weak position” of his Western allies at the time of its establishment.
On their side, the Russian leaders had declared on several occasions “not to accept” this mechanism which “will have no impact” on the course of the Russian offensive against its Ukrainian neighbour.
On December 9, Vladimir Putin had threatened the West to “reduce the production” of Russian oil “if necessary”, then lambasting a “stupid decision”.
Russia is the world’s second largest exporter of oil and was, in 2021, the second most in-demand supplier to the countries of the European Union. According to European leaders, 90 per cent of Russian oil exports to the EU will already be stopped by the end of 2022 in protest against the Russian offensive in Ukraine.