The Kremlin yesterday accused the United States of declaring an economic war on Russia that was sowing mayhem through energy markets, and it put Washington on notice it was considering its response to a ban on Russian oil and energy.
Russia's economy is facing the gravest crisis since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union after the West imposed heavy sanctions on almost the entire Russian financial and corporate system following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cast the West's sanctions as a hostile act that had roiled global markets and he said it was unclear how far turbulence on global energy markets would go.
"You see the bacchanalia, the hostile bacchanalia, which the West has sown - and that of course makes the situation very difficult and forces us to think seriously," Peskov told reporters. He declined to outline the exact nature of Russia's response.
The West's attempt to cut off Russia - one of the world's biggest exporters of oil, gas and metals - has hit commodity markets and raised the spectre of spiralling inflation across the world. Russia said on Monday that oil prices could shoot up to over $300 per barrel if the United States and European Union banned imports of crude from Russia.
Brent hit $139 on Monday, its highest since 2008. The situation demands a rather deep analysis - those decisions announced by President Biden," Peskov said. "If you are asking me what Russia is going to do - Russia is going to do what is necessary to defend its interests." "The United States definitely has declared economic war against Russia and is waging this war," he said.
Meanwhile, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire yesterday warned that the spike in energy prices caused by Russia's war in Ukraine will produce effects comparable to the 1973 oil shock. "In 1973, as you know, the response caused an inflationary shock, leading central banks to massively increase their rates, which killed off growth," Le Maire added. The first oil shock in the early 1970s was caused by the Yom Kippur war when Egyptian and Syrian forces launched an offensive against Israel.