After the war in Ukraine: Where Europe’s energy crisis could be headed next

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Amb. Paula Dobriansky
Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

The Rt Hon. Charles Hendry
CBE PC Professor, University of Edinburgh; Former Minister of State for Energy, United Kingdom

H.E. Ana Palacio
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain; Former Senior Vice President and General Counsel, World Bank Group; Member, Atlantic Council’s Board of Directors

Maxim Timchenko
Chief Executive Officer, DTEK


Olga Khakova
Deputy Director for Flagship Convenings and Global Engagement, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council

OLGA KHAKOVA: It is my honor to continue this conversation and through the lens of energy and what’s next for Ukraine in terms of energy security, decarbonization, and of course building towards peace. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce our panelists today: Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, we have Honorable Charles Hendry, Ana Palacio, and Mr. Maxim Timchenko. Maxim is joining us directly—coming directly from Ukraine to join us here in Dubai and raise the issues and help everyone understand what’s happening in Ukraine and what’s really needed and how do we start resolving this just really tough situation. What can we do as an international community to support Ukraine?

Mr. Timchenko, please, I would like—I would like to turn to you for initial remarks in terms of where would you like to see the priorities of what’s needed now, in the next couple of months, and even, you know, within—until the end of the year to—and hear your thoughts on that.

MAXIM TIMCHENKO: Thank you. Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here in this audience, people who are interested in what’s happening in Ukraine.

So I’m proud to be Ukrainian as much as everybody can imagine. And then, looking at these images and video, just want to say that life of me as a Ukrainian and millions of other Ukrainians changed with the words “before” and “after”—before this war started and after the war started.

Today’s 34th day of war in Ukraine. Mariupol is the city where we have major steel producers for the country, city which we created as a benchmark for other cities in Ukraine how it can be developed if you have investments, if you have proper mayor, if you invest your soul in development of the city. It was before.

And after these 34 days of suffering—this city population is about half-million. Today, nobody can say how many people in the city, how many survived, how many were killed, how many still staying in bomb shelters without electricity, heat, and food for 26 days. But this city is also a symbol of Ukrainian courage and bravery, and symbol of our freedom, because we fight for our freedom, because we taste freedom for 30 years being independent country.

You know, these steel producer, these steel plants were used to build shelter above Chernobyl power station and this steel used to build landmark building in London, Shard. And I can give you hundreds examples. It was peaceful place with working people creating future of Ukraine and producing products for the whole world. Now it’s all destroyed.

And you know, yesterday I did my speech in a panel saying that what can be higher price than death of 136 children in Ukraine. And you know, today this horrific score is 143 children. Six children were killed from yesterday, that just you understand what a disaster and what is disaster for humanity is happening in Ukraine now.

But today I want to talk about before and after our victory. Before our victory, we will fight everyone—fight for our future, fight for the future of Europe and the whole civilized world, producing enough coal, producing enough gas, making our energy system stable, managing connection of Ukrainian grid to European. And you can imagine we were preparing for 10 years to be connected and we managed to do it in three weeks during war, and it’s great appreciation to our European partners for supporting this. Now Ukrainian electricity grid is part of European electricity grid. This is what we are doing now.

But as I’ve been told, we want to speak about postwar time of Ukraine. We been here in different platforms. We appeal to governments, to business, to people: Stop buying the Russian energy. Stop buying the Russian products. Stop financing Russia, terrorist country killing our people. And I don’t want to go too fine politics and differentiate Putin from his—from people living in Russia. It’s different opinions here. But as I said yesterday, every dollar paid to Russia convert into bullets and bombs killing Ukrainian people.

And we ask stop buying Russian oil and gas. And of course, we have response from European partners saying that we are so dependent on Russian gas that it is impossible because we will—we will suffer. We will have rising prices, household bills, probably not enough hot water at your homes. But real suffering, this is what just you see. This is real suffering. And every person in life make a choice.

But we not only asking stop buying Russian oil and gas. In postwar world, we can help Europe to correct their mistake of overdependence on Russia in terms of energy supply. What Ukraine will offer?

First, we have the largest—the second-largest deposits of gas in our country after Norway. Today, we produce about 20 bcm of natural gas and consume 27 [bcm]. So I’m sure—and that’s good example from our company that we can close this gap in two, three years after the war. It’s vital technology, and we have technology, capital, and professional people who can do it. Today, we are drilling more than 6.5 thousand meters, and this is the deepness where we have gas. And we can start export of gas and supply gas to Europe.

The second is renewables. Today, we have only 8.7 gigawatt of renewable capacity in the country. And having such a good green seed, irradiation, access to grid, and land can make us the largest renewable-energy producer in Europe, and we will start exporting clean energy.

Third one, nuclear. More than 55 percent in our generation mix is produced by nuclear power stations—by the way, attacked by Russians. So precedent of these people have no limits when they attacked two of our power—nuclear power stations. Chernobyl, it was not enough for them. Disaster in 1986. And Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, the largest in Europe. But turning back to nuclear, I think that all trend and moment is coming for Europeans to accept that nuclear energy can be treated as a clean energy. And with such potential of nuclear power production in Ukraine and also bringing new technologies like small modular reactors and being one of the first countries for implementation prototypes of this new technology can make us one of the major exporter of clean nuclear energy to Europe.

This is solutions we offer to Europe: not be afraid of Russian country or supply of Russian gas. It should be stopped now. Help us to win this war, and after this war we help you to be more diversified. We provide you—we make your energy security more strong, we provide reliability to your system, and we will be part of Europe—of European energy market. Thank you.

OLGA KHAKOVA: Thank you so much, Mr. Timchenko.

I want to provide just a little bit more context for this session and for our discussion as I start addressing the questions to the rest of the panelists. So I think it’s important to note that we both—we both—we can do two things at once. We can both support Ukraine right now with the urgencies and what needs to be done to keep the lights on and, you know, keep that conversation going; at the same time, it is not too early—it is not too soon to think about, what does a post-conflict future for Ukraine looks like? And as Mr. Timchenko mentioned, what does a decarbonized Ukraine that is a robust exporter of clean energy that is not reliant on energy imports from Russia, what does that look like? And what does—what do we need to do right now, as we look into the future and anticipate this? Are there things that we can do now proactively so that when peace is reached in Ukraine and the conflict is done that we can support these kinds of efforts and create a future for Ukraine that we all desire—that we all desire to see?

Paula, I’m going to start with you.

PAULA DOBRIANSKY: First, thank you, the Atlantic Council and also the World Government Summit, for being here, and all of you for being here in this discussion.

I’d put forth a number of propositions. And I will answer your question, but I’d like to just also broaden it, if I may. I think striking with the Russian invasion of and war on Ukraine, there will definitively be a number of consequences that we are already witnessing, some which may have been predicted, some which haven’t been predicted.

The first is that, clearly, this will have geopolitical consequences. There were those who, by the way, were very focused in the term great-power competition specifically on the challenge posed by China. And one would often hear, well, Russia, not so great. So I think that now there’s a wakeup call that one has to look at both in the kinds of challenges that are being brought to the international arena.

And it’s also striking to note the kind of relationship that exists politically, economically, and militarily between Russia and China relative to this situation. Just one, for example: Although China has abstained from the U.N. resolution condemning the war on Russia—excuse me, on Ukraine, that at the same time that China refuses to even use the term “war” in defining what is taking place. So that’s a first—a first point to make here of the geopolitical one.

Secondly, I’m very struck by from the Financial Times Ed Luce, a writer from the Financial Times. He put it very succinctly. He actually, in an article, had thanked President Putin, and he thanked President Putin for bringing about a great deal of unity. He first focused on Ukraine itself. He said if there ever was any tension within, there certainly isn’t now; that actually, within Ukraine itself, regardless of what your origin is or where you live—east, west, in the middle—there really is a unity of purpose and citizens are taking great exception to the kind of massacre of Ukrainian citizens that is taking place.

And thirdly, it’s rather striking in terms of the kind of I’ll use the term collaboration that exists in the West—the United States and looking at Europe at large. There are some very unprecedented developments. I’d especially pick out the fact that it was really just essentially over a very short period of time that in Germany, as we know, Germany moved forward and moved aside Nord Stream 2. And actually, as I understand it, officials are already visiting here in the Middle East to look at options for LNG relative to energy because, as you know, Germany in particular I pick out—there are other countries—but especially had—was very strongly endorsing and advocating Nord Stream 2. So there is a very significant shift there and also a very significant shift in the context where Germany had heretofore not provided military supplies or equipment. They are doing so in the case of Ukraine.

I just have a few more points and then I’ll pass it.

Also, the fact that both Sweden and Finland are actually having conversations about NATO and whether or not they should be in NATO. I think Sweden as one reads more than Finland maybe at this time, but also is a very significant development.

So there have been—I’m only mentioning a number, not all—but there have been a number of developments that one could cast as being unprecedented and certainly ones that I don’t think had been actually predicted in this period of time, and that clearly have been provoked by this war on Ukraine. Let me say a brief word about energy as we’re looking forward, and actually one last—one last, forgive me—on now, the current situation.

Maxim, I think, is right to make the appeal, which all of you I’m sure have seen in one capacity or another, that President Zelensky has made a strong appeal particularly for military assistance. The Ukrainians are not asking for anyone to fight the war, but they are asking give them the ability to fight a good fight. And in this case, the MiG-29s which Poland was putting forward, the no-fly zone, other kinds of equipment have been specifically requested and very clearly stated by President Zelensky.

At the same time, you also have seen there have been a dialogue taking place relevant to negotiations. They could be left as a question if you have a question on that.

But let me say finally, on energy, I do want to support what Maxim had just said. I think that, strikingly, what we are witnessing is that there is a realization that there has been, clearly, a weaponization of energy, that it’s in European countries’ interests in particular to pull away from that, and I think there is a strong desire to move forward to have a diversified energy pool and to not be dependent on Russian oil or gas. And I think he well-articulated the kind of panoply of resources that not just only Ukraine offers, but others.

And this is my last. The Atlantic Council has been in particular—since Atlantic Council is one of the sponsors here of what’s known as the Three Seas Initiative. Poland in particular put forward the Three Seas Initiative, and actually received a first shipment of LNG from the United States, and is collaborating with all the countries that just go down, if you will, from the three seas to Croatia. And there has been really strong collaboration, again, to set up alternative sources of fuel. It’s very promising and it’s already underway.

Thank you.

OLGA KHAKOVA: Thank you so much.


CHARLES HENDRY: Thank you very much. I mean, first of all, thank you to Atlantic Council for organizing this session, which I think is one of the most important and, indeed, challenging sessions of the whole of this forum.

I first went to Kyiv when I was energy minister for the UK to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, and I’ve been back many times since. And I find it horrific beyond words that Kyiv, which is a city which I have found is a bustling, modern, vibrant, welcoming European city, should be the capital of a country which is a warzone. And our hearts go to the Ukrainian people for the incredible courage which they are showing at a time of such unthinkable savagery and butchery.

As we look forward, I want to start as you did, Maxim, and to assume that the war ends—we don’t know when that will be, but it ends with Ukraine maintaining its territorial integrity. And how do we then, as the West, support it? I think it’s important to recognize that almost all the countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia are Western democracies with—in North America and Europe and countries like North Korea (sic). The overwhelming majority of the world has not yet taken actions to impose any sanctions on Russia, and I think we need to push forward our efforts to try and build a stronger coalition to take action further. And we know that at each turn of the screw that we have impose tougher sanctions, or else we will be seen as the allies of Ukraine to be weak in that regard.

Olga, as you rightly say, it is not too soon to be thinking about what we do at the end of this crisis, at the end of this war. In many areas, the world was sleeping when this happened. And we now can and should plan for how we implement a major program to support and facilitate the rebuilding of Ukraine, and I think that takes a number of different guises.

First of all, you mentioned nuclear and the unbelievable Russian attacks on your nuclear power stations. We should be sending in the world’s best nuclear experts to ensure that when it’s safe to do so they can make sure that those power stations are safe. If they are operating reactors—it’s the biggest nuclear plant in the world which has been attacked more recently—then we should be making sure that whatever nuclear skills you need the West will make available to you.

Secondly, we need to support in building up the energy infrastructure, Maxim, which you referred to. One of the companies I work for had been building and has built the largest wind farm in Ukraine, 500 megawatts. It’s now in Russian-occupied territory. And so there are some resources which we don’t know when they will be available again, but we need to bring together the world’s businesses and in a Marshall aid-type plan to ensure that the resources are made available to build those energy-infrastructure elements, to build—help rebuilding the cities like Mariupol, and to make that a lasting testimony that after this catastrophe the world made sure that those things could be rebuilt.

To rebuild civil society, I don’t—it’s a distraction in a way, but I think those cultural connections are incredibly important, and to show the Russian people that they are isolated and equally to show the Ukrainian people that the world stands with them. And therefore, it means that cultural cooperation and quality-of-life elements like that become really important as well.

We need to help with economic reforms, because I think it’s fair to say that Ukraine had not been served well by some of its previous administrations in tackling some of the issues of corruption, and that we need to work together with the government—and President Zelensky will have an extraordinary mandate to take this forward—to ensure that the economic reforms are done, to create a transparent society which is ready to join the EU and which is able to encourage the international investment which is necessary. Many of the rules historically have been difficult for foreign investors. It used to be the case that you have to get a license to explore for oil and gas, and once you had found it you had to get a development license, and it was at that point that others came in and, knowing that the oil and gas was there, and took those licenses. Well, actually has been taking on some of those measures, but a comprehensive package of economic reforms and support I think is necessary to ensure that Ukraine can take its rightful place within the Western democratic community.

And my final point, I think, is on the role of sanctions after the war. I’ve mentioned that we need to increase the number of countries which are imposing sanctions on Russia, but I think we also need to recognize that when Russia decides that this war is finished—either because it’s defeated or it decides eventually it has to stop—then the sanctions don’t end there; that the individuals who have been sanctioned need to remain sanctioned. The government institutions, the Russian state corporations, they too need to remain sanctioned. And it is only when Russia shows that it is ready to rejoin the values of the Western world—and there are many Russians who believe in that fundamentally, and we should have a lot of sympathy for those who are being terrorized in their own country. There’s nothing like the pain which people in Ukraine are going through, but there are many good Russians who we will need to work with going forward. But we need to use those economic tools as a way of driving change in Russia as well. So when the war ends, the sanctions don’t.

And therefore, we have to send strong signals to Ukraine that we are going to stand with it. We will be there to help the rebuilding, but we’ve also got to continue to say strong signals to Russia that this isn’t just about the war; it’s about their whole culture, which has to change.

OLGA KHAKOVA: Thank you. Thank you, Charles.


ANA PALACIO: Well, thank you. I mean, I join you in just showing my gratitude to Atlantic Council. And this is not the first time. I’m very happy to be here. And I fully agree this is a very important session.

So what can I say but amen? Because honestly, I think that a lot has been said which is a challenge.

Now, I will start by just going along. This is—this is a—the Ukrainians are fighting for our freedom, and it has shown—it has even shown in United Nations. The bulk of the countries that abstained or even that didn’t even get to the voting, it’s something that we have to reflect upon. This is about the West. It is about our values. And you are fighting our fight.

Now, that having been said, you ask European Union to stop buying gas from Russia. Well, you know what, let’s be realistic because I’m speaking from today. After the war, we don’t know when it will be. We cannot just wait until the war ends. I think that we are already—you can ask the Europeans what the Europeans can give. You cannot ask NATO to be engaged. You can ask for MiG. I’m among those that say that we need to arm Ukraine as much as we can, but we have to be realistic. Don’t ask the Europeans to stop gas import right now. It will not be possible.

Nevertheless, we have connected Ukraine and Moldova, and this is an extremely important gesture. By the way, Ukraine and Moldova have been connected before the Baltics—before Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia—that are still waiting, that were due to be connected. So when you say it has taken 10 years, Latvians are members of the European Union and are still waiting. They will be connected before 2025. So we are doing and we are doing a lot.

And I think that you have mentioned the turn—I think the U-turn of Germany. Yesterday, we listened one of the speakers saying, well, we never could expect Russia using energy as a weapon. Well, many Europeans, in particular the eastern—the Poles, the Baltics—were telling for years, and you don’t see that. You don’t see that after Georgia. You don’t see that after Maidan. By the way, I was in Maidan. I’m one of the Europeans that I have the—I mean, the great privilege to having co-chair with Madeleine Albright the delegation of observers in the 2014 general elections in Ukraine, besides having gone there.

So, no, you are not going to cut me because I’m the last. I mean, at least let me just be very short but say a few things.

So, please, I have—so going into just telegraphically, because I’m the last and I have to—in gas, it hasn’t been said but you have a storage capacity that is extremely important. It’s 30 bcms, around one-fourth of the total capacity of the European Union, over one-fourth of the total capacity of the European Union. We have to work on that. There are areas where we can already work on that.

On nuclear, well, absolutely clear that we can start working on the safety and the security. And we need to address the—I mean, addressing Chernobyl, the reactors that just were damaged. We need—we were really concerned, because everybody in the world knows Chernobyl. This is one of the issues where the European Union—the United States will need to get involved now.

Nobody has spoken about coal. Frankly, coal is a challenge. You have 12 of the most-polluting just coal plants in the world. So let’s address that. We need to address that. You have issues in your coal production because of something that you have mentioned, governance. I mean, there are… there are structured—even regulatory structures that have to be. We need to work on that. And we need to work on that today, now.

Yes, the—there is a fantastic perspective on renewables. We need to work on that as well. But you have said we need to find who finances that because, you know, saying we need to, we need to, we have to put our deeds where our mouth is.

And honestly, I’m very proud as a European. We have—we have been doing it in terms of arms, in terms—we could do more.

And I will end by something. We need to keep—to keep the attention on Ukraine. We don’t know, we hope that it’s going to be short, but we need to keep the attention on Ukraine. And as I see—as I see Ms. Arslan here I will say Turkey needs to allow LNG tankers through the Bosporus. This is absolutely—nobody speaks about that. This would make a sea change.

And I’ll leave it there.

OLGA KHAKOVA: Wow. Thank you so much. I mean, I—the number of ideas and thoughts that were shared today, I mean, I think it’s incredible. Thank you so much.

I want to dive a little bit deeper on the natural gas future and the network. You mentioned storage a little bit. I want to dive into what does the future—Ukraine has such a robust natural gas transmission network, and what is the future of that network without a world—you know, past 2024 or even sooner without a world where it transmits Russian gas? What does the future look like? Is there—are there new technologies involved, like hydrogen perhaps? Are there—you know, is storage implemented more as a security tool? So I would love to, you know, get your thoughts on how do you see maybe—Mr. Timchenko, maybe you can start off. How do you envision the future for Ukraine’s robust natural gas system? Because in the past we have operated on this assumption that having economic ties, having natural gas imports from Russia was a way to mitigate, to deter Russia from doing something like this. And as we have seen, that assumption has proven false. So how do we move forward with a different plan?

MAXIM TIMCHENKO: That’s another point about Russians. I think that—and the Europeans, especially our German colleagues who were saying that Nord Stream 2 is commercial project and that Russia not using energy as a weapon. Now I think that there is consensus for everybody that Russia used before and will use energy as a weapon. And now the question how Europe could defend themself against this weapon.

I am not asking or our country not asking to stop buying Russian gas from tomorrow. What is—what is realistic is to have the same position as the United States and the UK on Russian oil. And it is feasible, especially from this region, if Europe will be active in finding alternative supply of Russian oil.

But Russian gas, what we need is very clear roadmap and commitment from Europe how the share of Russian natural gas in Europe will be lowered to minimum level. And as I said, this is partly the question about transportation. As soon as we know how much gas Europe will be taking in the future, then we can ask the question what will happen with Ukrainian gas transportation system. We can survive without transmitting this Russian gas through our system. We will use it for our storage capacities. We will use it for our domestic needs. And basically, that’s not matter for us now about revenue we’re getting for transiting Russian gas.

What is really important is to have very clear strategy for Europe. And I hope that Ukraine will be part of this strategy of diversification of energy sources, including Russian gas.

OLGA KHAKOVA: Thank you so much.

ANA PALACIO: As it was directed to me, allow me to respond. With all respect and admiration for what you are doing, what you said is Europeans say that they need the gas for heating and for—we are suffering. Yes, of course, that’s absolutely clear. But I think that if we are going to go through that together, we have to know what you—I mean, you have and we have to know what you can ask. And honestly, the European Union is making a great effort. Our effort has nothing to do with—not comparable with United States, to be honest and clear today, because of geography, because of refugees, because of ties of all sorts.

So my comment was, I mean, I’m absolutely for—I’m saying I think that we have to arm more, we have to send, we have to do. But let’s be realistic what our societies—because I repeat it, the danger is that this solidarity that has been raised in Europe just decreases. I mean, I come from a country, Spain or Italy, we have—we have no memories as Poland does with Russia. We tend to be sympathetic to the Russians…

OLGA KHAKOVA: Thank you so much.

I do want to take some questions from the audience. We only have a little bit left so I may ask that you shape them in the form of question, not a comment, if possible. I think I saw your hand first and we’ll try to keep—capture a few in the back as well.

Q: Right. So, thank you so much. Ahmed Maher from The National in Abu Dhabi.

So everyone is reshuffling their oil cards at the moment, so Putin will establish a foothold in strong economies like China and India on the one hand, and on the other hand you have Europe might shift towards the Middle East, as Georgette (sic) said.


Q: Sorry. Excuse me. Sorry. Yeah. So it seems that we are going in circles. So my question is to Mr. Charles, if you can share your insights on that, and Paula as well. Thank you.

CHARLES HENDRY: I think we—Amos Hochstein, talking to this forum remotely yesterday, said that it would be important to look right around the world to find out where we can find new availability of oil which can be brought into the Western economies, and I think that’s going to lead to some very intriguing discussions, so what does it mean for Kurdistan, what does it mean for Syria? We know that President Assad was here in Dubai last week. Is this the start of a process of trying to bring Syria back into the international community? So there are some really important geopolitical issues to be addressed in this, but I think the fundamental point, and it goes back to something Winston Churchill said a hundred years ago, which is that security comes from diversity and diversity alone, and it means that we need to have more—a wider range of countries from which we’re getting those resources and we need to have diversified routes for bringing them to our markets as well. In cases, that can be pipeline, it can be LNG. Germany’s now building two very big LNG facilities on the North Sea coast. The Western world is going to respond as quickly as it can to ensure that it is never in an isolated position like this again. It has been too dependent on one source of fuel, and that’s got to change.

The area which I would point to as being a really—issue of emergency, of urgency for Europe is diesel. Half of the European diesel comes from Russia. Half of it comes from the Middle East. We went into this war with our diesel stocks at record lows, though we are in a situation where within a few weeks we may find that the diesel pumps in European petrol stations have dried up. That’s when European support is going to start to be tested. It’s not next winter. It’s in a few weeks’ time. And then what happens when people can’t go and see an elderly parent, they can’t go and see their children in hospital, the emotional cases which will happen because they simply haven’t got fuel available? So there’s a very strong social and human aspect which comes into what will inevitably be a very disruptive period as people start finding new markets and new suppliers.

PAULA DOBRIANSKY: I’ll just make a—this is on—mine is on now—a brief comment because I think Charles really dove deep on your question. Three points: I think the Middle East absolutely has demonstrated that there’s a keen interest in a number of the countries in diversification—diversification of investment and also an emphasis on new technologies in furthering also energy efficiency and resourcefulness. And I mentioned in my opening comment, I’m very struck by the fact that Germany—you referenced what they’re doing—but Germany has been very much in the region and looking at how to engage the Middle East in the development of infrastructure towards the creation of LNG terminals. And so from that end, I think to answer your question succinctly, yes, I think the region is very engaged, and not just recently; this was even pre-invasion of Ukraine.

Q: How about… going to India and China and so forth?

PAULA DOBRIANSKY: Well, India is a different issue in terms—India is—the question was about India. India’s a different issue. India, as you know, has had a long relationship, initially as non-aligned—but with Russia, and in particular, it’s not only dependent for its energy sources, it has stated very clearly the need to get oil from Russia. But thirdly, let me just mention, the relationship is broader than that. Russia is the number one arms supplier to India. It’s a complicated relationship, and in this particular time it’s one that India also abstained to the resolution at the United Nations. So the relationship is a complicated one in which India has different goals, objectives when it looks around the globe.

OLGA KHAKOVA: Yes, thank you so much.

Helima, just one final question because we are running out of time. I know we want to keep this conversation going. We can go for hours and hours.

Q: Great. Thank you so much. Helima Croft, RBC Capital Markets and Atlantic Council board member.

The question I have is: What if it gets worse? I mean, everyone talks about this war will end. Well, everything ends. But I’m just wondering—you know, we’ve had discussions about chemical weapons use, tactical nuclear weapons. Like, what is in the sanctions arsenal if that were to come to pass? And is there a sense that we could split potentially oil from gas in terms of sanctions? Are we potentially thinking about secondary sanctions if those horrible incidents come to pass?

PAULA DOBRIANSKY: May I make a comment on that one—

OLGA KHAKOVA: And we only just have a few minutes.

PAULA DOBRIANSKY:—very brief, and then also—well, Ana obviously has her mic up, but Maxim should comment.

My answer to you, very briefly, is we shouldn’t do postmortems. I think it’s been very clearly stated what is needed in terms of fighting the good fight here, and I think before you came in I made a point about how the Ukrainians have been very clear about the kind of military assistance and economic sanctions that they would also like to see placed, so on the broad political point, I would say that let’s not do a postmortem and say, oh, we should have done that, we could have moved faster, why not this? We should act. We should act and so that it’s not the situation that you just described, because any negotiation is going to be affected obviously where each is standing or, should we say, each is sitting, in this case.

But you want to answer maybe the energy component.

ANA PALACIO: Yeah. I agree with you that oil is much more of a commodity than gas. Gas needs a lot of infrastructure, so it’s not easy to switch from one provider of gas to a different provider of gas and even—I mean, we need to be realistic about that as well, in terms of time, and yes, finding other sources and yes, differentiating the sanctions. But again—I mean, I think that you came after I myself made a statement that we need to start thinking about today, not when the war ends or—today. What can we do today? What is realistic under European Union? I’m not going to repeat my intervention, but we are doing a lot of things. This is something to be considered progressively. We will be able to do that to just decouple oil and gas.

OLGA KHAKOVA: And thank you so much. Unfortunately, we are running out of time. I am so sorry.

Mr. Timchenko, I know it’s unreasonable to ask for you to summarize, you know, and provide 30 seconds, you know, closing statement. I know that that’s an impossible ask, but if you could, you know, provide maybe a final couple of thoughts. I know we’ve discussed—we’ve covered a lot today, but in terms of a closing statement for today’s conversation, I would love to hear that from you.

MAXIM TIMCHENKO: I think that the whole world was surprised how strong are Ukrainians for these 34 days, how strong we’re defending our country, our freedom, and how strong we are defending future of all of you, and we need your support; we need your help. We are so grateful for all what was done for these 34 days, but we need more. And be confident that we will be and it will be our joint victory. So I’m really—thank you very much for that.

OLGA KHAKOVA: I would like to thank our fantastic panelists. This is such a timely discussion, such an urgent matter for us to address today. Thank you all. I hope that one of the biggest takeaways from today is that we must continue keeping our eyes on the developments in Ukraine, no matter what other issues or security things that come our way. That is an important topic to keep all of our focus on…

Thank you all for joining us. I really appreciate it. And I hope you have a great rest of the afternoon.

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Further reading

Image: Alleged political pressure targeting Ukraine's recently unbundled gas transmission system operator GTSO is threatening to undo Ukraine's energy sector reforms and derail a multi-billion dollar transit contract with Russia's Gazprom. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich