Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has told MPs that the UK will “consider” imposing sanctions on Russian gas post Brexit.
European Union sanctions on Russia currently exclude oil and gas, but Mr Johnson said he would consider all possibilities once the UK “takes back control of our sanctions policy”.
Mr Johnson made the comments in response to a Commons question from Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake, who urged a tougher stance.
What can we do about Russia? We could ban their gas imports and produce more of our own? pic.twitter.com/mrqmmPgYyw— Kevin Hollinrake MP (@kevinhollinrake) March 14, 2018
The Thirsk and Malton MP said: “Despite the fact oil and gas exports make up 70% of Russia’s international trade, these are not currently covered under the EU sanction regime due to the high reliance of the EU on Russian gas exports.
“After our exit from the European Union, will this be a sensible extra measure that we might take that might assist with our diplomatic efforts?”
Mr Johnson responded: “We will of course consider all possibilities once we exit the European Union and take back control of our sanctions policy.”
Tory former Cabinet minister John Whittingdale later raised concern about the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Central and Western Europe.
As with Russia’s existing Nord Stream pipeline, the route bypasses not only Ukraine, but also the Baltic states and Poland – and is seen as a “political project” rather than an economic one.
Mr Whittingdale said: “Does he share the widespread concern about the proposed Russian gas pipe line Nord Stream 2.
“Does he agree that there appears to be no economic justification for this, but it is instead a political project designed to increase European dependence on Russian gas and to weaken Ukraine and will he press that point on our allies, particularly Germany and Denmark?”
Mr Johnson responded: “I can assure him that we in the UK Government are well aware of the deep controversy surrounding Nord Stream 2 and we raise it not just in Ukraine but of course with our European friends and partners.”