British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday underscored his drive for energy independence, saying the West’s failure to wean itself from Russian oil and natural gas after the annexation of Crimea paved the way for the invasion of Ukraine.
Western countries made a “terrible mistake” in returning to normal economic relations with Russia after the Crimean incursion and becoming even more dependent on Russian energy exports, Johnson wrote in a front page article in The Telegraph newspaper. “And so when (Vladimir Putin) finally came to launch his vicious war in Ukraine, he knew the world would find it very hard to punish him.
Ending the world’s dependence on Russian energy will starve Putin of cash, Johnson said as he made the case for the U.K. government’s plan to phase out imports of oil and gas from Russia by the end of this year.
To replace Russian energy and cut carbon emissions, the UK must expand production of wind power, and invest in other forms of renewable energy including solar, tidal, geothermal and hydroelectric power plants, Johnson said. The UK must also reverse the “historic mistake” of moving away from nuclear energy, he said.