DOHA (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on energy producing countries on Saturday to increase output so that Russia cannot use its oil and gas wealth to “blackmail” other nations.
Addressing the Doha Forum international conference via video link, Zelenskiy said countries such as Qatar could make a contribution to the stabilisation of Europe.
“They can do much to restore justice. The future of Europe depends on your effort. I ask you to increase the output of energy to ensure that everyone in Russia understands that no country can use energy as a weapon and blackmail the world,” he said in translated comments.
The month-long invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Europe’s top gas supplier, has sharpened concerns of disruption to energy supplies and increased scrutiny of European Union countries’ reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Zelenskiy also said no country is insured against shocks from disruptions to food supply happening because of Russia’s invasion of his country. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain producers.
“The world’s markets have not yet overcome from the repercussions of the pandemic, from the price shocks of food. No one is insured against these shocks and you cannot be insured if there is a physical scarcity of food,” he said.
“Russian troops are covering fields in Ukraine for miles, they are exploding agrarian equipment.”
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Andrew Mills; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli and Michael Georgy; Editing by Frances Kerry)