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Opinion
Julian Lee

Capping Russian Oil Prices Is Pure Fantasy

Putin has already shown that the country’s economy is of secondary importance to his imperialist ambitions.

Not budging. 

Not budging. 

Photographer: MIKHAIL METZEL/AFP

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is at the forefront of calls for a cap on Russian oil export prices. Sounds like a great idea. Just don’t expect it to work.

Here’s the problem. Russia earns billions of dollars from exporting oil. Those dollars are helping to fund President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the world needs Russian oil to keep flowing because markets are already tight and nobody has spare capacity to make up for its loss. But countries in North America, Europe and parts of Asia want to cut off the flow of funds to the Kremlin’s war machine.