In a piece headlined «„We haven't done anything yet”: Federation Council on what the EU has done to itself,» RIA Novosti writes:
«Senator Andrei Klimov <...> says the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU are detrimental to the EU itself in the first place.
«The EU just decided to cut off from our resources, and immediately the prices surged. We have not even done anything yet,» the parliamentarian said. <...>
«The EU, with a part of it <i.e. Great Britain. - The Insider> missing, has now sewed up its eyes, plugged its ears, and artificially created clots in its circulatory system in the form of restrictions. Its circulatory system is already beginning to fail unpredictably. Let me repeat, we have not done anything yet, but they have already done this to themselves,» Klimov said.
He also recalled that Russia used to supply food to Europe, but now, after Moscow stopped supplying food to Europe, as well as following possible restrictions on energy and fertilizer imports to the EU, the European Union may face a «huge price hikes and starvation.»
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine. In response, the West announced new anti-Russian sanctions, and calls to reduce dependence on Russian energy resources became louder in Europe. However, the sanctions pressure on Moscow has already caused economic problems for the Western countries in the form of higher fuel and food prices.»
Proposals to forego Russian gas have indeed been heard in the EU, and on March 8, the European Commission presented an outline of a plan to make Europe independent of Russian fossil fuels. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said:
«We need to become independent of Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier that clearly threatens us. We have to act now to mitigate the effects of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for the next winter, and accelerate the transition to clean energy.»
But for now, this remains a plan under development. In contrast to the US and the UK, which have announced a complete rejection of Russian energy, the EU countries continue to import Russian gas. This, incidentally, is what the RIA Novosti news agency said the same day it published Klimov's statement. In a piece headlined «Transit of gas through Ukraine remains at a level close to maximum,» the agency writes:
«Transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory on Thursday, March 24, is expected to remain close to Gazprom's maximum contractual obligations, according to data from the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System Operator (UGTSO).
According to the current bids, the volume of gas pumped through the Suja and Sohranovka gas metering stations (GMS) on the Russian side will amount to 105.1 million cubic meters. The rate of transit of Russian gas through Ukraine has kept close to Gazprom's maximum obligations under the transit contract – nearly 109.6 million cubic meters per day - since late February and only slightly decreased for a couple of days last week.»
The Nord Stream pipeline (not to be confused with Nord Stream 2, the commissioning of which has been frozen) continues to deliver gas to its full capacity.
As we can see from the diagram, European spot prices for gas rose on February 24 due to the war, with an even steeper surge following on March 7 – following the statement of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak who threatened to stop gas supplies via Nord Stream and the expectations of a possible European embargo on Russian energy supplies. However, the embargo did not happen, and the prices quickly fell to the level close to the autumn maximum of 2021. Thus, the EU sanctions against Russia have no direct impact on the current level of energy prices.
As for the rise in food prices, it is certainly related to the war unleashed by Russia, but not the sanctions. Euronews explains the mechanisms of the price increase in its March 17 report:
«When the Russian army began its offensive in Ukraine on February 24, food prices around the world were already at record highs. The war is likely to push them even higher.
Global food prices hit a record high in February, up 24% year-on-year, after a 4% monthly growth.
The eurozone wasn't left out: food, alcohol and tobacco prices rose 4.1% month-over-month in February after rising 3.5% in January.
Such a steep rise was driven by a number of factors, most notably energy and transportation. Both have risen sharply over the past year as demand for natural gas and shipping greatly exceeded supply and the world's economies emerged from the stupor caused by COVID-19.
Then Russia invaded a neighboring country, falsely claiming that the attack was necessary to prevent genocide allegedly perpetrated by the Ukrainian authorities in the east, and the reaction of the markets was immediate.
Wheat prices jumped 50 percent.
Ukraine and Russia together are commonly referred to as the world's breadbasket, producing nearly 30% of food commodities such as wheat and corn. Ukraine alone, a country 28 times smaller than Russia, accounts for 16% and 12% of the world's wheat and corn production, respectively.
Two weeks into the conflict, Kiev decided to ban exports of staple foods, making it a priority to feed its population in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by persistent cease-fire violations that prevent humanitarian convoys from reaching key towns.
Russia followed suit by banning wheat exports to some neighboring countries until the end of June.»