In the wake of Russia's recent airstrikes on civilian sites in Ukraine, the leading economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has a two-pronged plan for helping the Ukrainian army rebound quickly and ultimately win the war against Russia.
First, supply Ukraine with $40 billion to cover the damages of the airstrikes; then, hit Russian President Vladimir Putin where it hurts the most: his country's bank account.
On Wednesday, Oleg Ustenko told Newsweek that, in addition to Ukraine receiving a cash infusion, Russia's latest missile bombardment warrants a "very fast and very effective" response from the Western allies.
One prescribed option: Ustenko believes a worldwide price cap on oil among the G-7, European Union and NATO powers would be the most effective way to defund Moscow's military budget.
"You're not able to win this war if the Russians continue to get this bloody money for their budget, which allows them to conduct this war against us," said Ustenko.
The Ukrainian economist added: "[The Russians'] daily bill for conducting war crimes in Ukraine and conducting their military operation in Ukraine is roughly $1 billion; they are receiving around the same amount from their oil."
Newsweek reports the G-7 price cap suggestion would act "in parallel" with the impending EU embargo to dismantle Moscow's lucrative petroleum exports. Also, this hypothetical cap could be enforced by blocking insurance to Russian cargoes — if the oil were sold above a certain limit.
According to Ustenko, roughly 95% of the global oil tanker fleet gets covered by shipping insurers in G-7 countries.
"Everything related to the price cap is extremely important right now; it should be implemented already ... Oil is No. 1, gas is No. 2," said Ustenko. "Everything had changed even before these latest attacks."
Moscow has reportedly earned around $100 billion from the oil industry, since the Russia-Ukraine war launched on Feb. 24. Assuming that figure's accurate, Russia has made roughly $369 million per day over the last 271 days.
As Newsmax chronicled on Tuesday, Putin claims that Russia has not been working against anyone on energy markets, despite the recent oil-production cut from OPEC+.
Speaking with the United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Putin said Russia aimed to "create stability on energy markets" and ensure that supply and consumption were balanced.
If a worldwide price cap garners approval from the G-7, NATO and other Western alliances, Moscow could reflexively ban oil exports to any countries honoring the cap, according to Newsweek, thus driving oil prices even higher and threatening economic instability.
Three G-7 nations have already ceased importing Russian oil: the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Prior to the Russia-Ukraine war, Urals crude oil — Russia's major export brand — was trading around $90 per barrel. And Newsweek reports concerns about the upcoming EU embargo have dropped that same type of Russian crude to approximately $70 per barrel.
This week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reasoned a potential price cap of $60 per barrel would restrict Russian revenues.
However, from Ustenko's perspective, the Americans can go even further.
"In our view, in Kyiv, the level of the price cap should be as minimal as possible," said Ustenko, "which means it should be at the level of marginal production costs of the oil for them. ... I would say that's a level of between $10 and $20 per barrel."
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