Russia's President, Vladimir Putin has warned Europe that the continent will pay a high price for energy if the West imposes an embargo on Russian oil.
EU members are negotiating a proposed oil embargo on Russia over Ukraine, but talks failed this week because of a veto from Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil imports.
Putin said talk of a possible embargo had already prompted a rise in global oil prices.
Speaking with Russian oil chiefs and government officials, in a televised address on Tuesday, May 17, about the impact of Western sanctions on the energy industry, Putin claimed the sanctions, which were introduced following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, had been established by the West for political reasons.
But he concluded it would be impossible for some European countries, which are heavily reliant on energy from Russia, to completely shun Russian oil.
“Of course, such an economic suicide is a domestic affair of the European countries,” Putin said.
"Obviously, some EU states, in whose energy balance the share of Russian hydrocarbons is especially high, will not be able to do this for a long time, to ditch our oil," Putin said.
'Europe will pay the price' .
He said that by abandoning Russian energy supplies, Europe risked paying the most expensive energy prices in the world long-term, while the competitiveness of its industry would be undermined.
"There are tectonic changes on the oil market, and making business as it had been done before, in line with the old model, looks unlikely," Putin said, adding that it was important to set up a complete chain from producer to end-buyer.
"In the new conditions, it is important not only to extract oil, but also to build the entire vertical chain leading to the final consumer.'