US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt explained that Washington was plotting a decade-long economic war targeting Moscow. The US has maintained sanctions on Russia since the 2014 Washington-backed coup in Ukraine sparked Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the economic war on the Russian economy was significantly intensified.
Geoffrey Pyatt, US assistant secretary of state for energy resources, told the Financial Times, “This is something that we’re going to have to stick to for years to come, as long as Putin persists in this war.” When asked if the US would try to cut Russian energy exports by 40%-50% by 2030, the official responded, “We’re going to do everything we can to help make that true.”
Pyatt stated the economic war will continue for years even after peace is reached in Ukraine. “The goal of these sanctions is to change Russia’s behavior and to ensure that Putin is not in a position, whenever some kind of peace is achieved . . . to use three or four years to rearm and prepare himself and prepare his military for stage three of the Ukraine invasion,” he said.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, President Joe Biden announced the US and its allies would enact a sweeping sanctions campaign against Moscow aimed at crippling the Russian economy. However, Russia has largely weathered the sanctions storm.
A year ago, the Group of Seven (G7) placed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian oil exports and threatened to sanction countries that purchase Moscow’s energy above that price. The price cap and the sanctions have failed to have a major impact on the Russian economy, as Moscow is currently selling its oil well above the price cap.
Pyatt explained that Washington is looking at ways to stop tankers from shipping Moscow’s oil. The US has dubbed the tankers carrying Russian energy a “shadow fleet” and claims it has evaded enforcement of the G7 price cap. The official did not give details on what actions Washington was planning but indicated something would be announced in the near future. “Watch this space,” he said.
A phone call recording between then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Pyatt and then Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was leaked and released on YouTube on February 4th, 2014. In the call, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should replace the government of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was forced to step down on February 22nd, 2014. That coup kicked off the civil war in Ukraine, which saw thousands killed and led to the Russian invasion last year.