THE EU’s “ruling elite” have been slammed for “funding the Russian war machine”, while an expert has said that post-Brexit Britain is “leading” the world in its attempt to stop Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Nile Gardiner, criticised the EU for its “hugely disappointing” response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that they still buy “huge amounts of Russian energy”. Earlier in April, it was revealed that the EU has paid €35 billion for Russian energy since the start of the war, compared to the €1 billion it has sent to Ukraine in the form of foreign aid.

The European Commission has pledged to cut its use of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of 2022, with the longer-term goal of ending its reliance on Russian energy entirely by 2030.

The EU imports about 40 percent of its gas from Russia and 27 percent of its oil.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Gardiner said: “I think the Germans have been absolutely useless on Ukraine.

“They have appeased Putin’s Russia for several decades.

Ursula von der Leyen, Putin and Johnson

The EU’s ruling elite have been slammed for ‘funding the Russian war machine’ (Image: Getty)

Ursula von der Leyen

Nile Gardiner criticised the EU for its ‘hugely disappointing’ response to Putin’s invasion (Image: Getty)

“Some of the messaging from berlin is a bit more robust today than it was but if you compare the Germans to what the British are doing, there’s no comparison.

“And clearly, president Zelensky and Ukraine think that Germany’s overall approach has been nothing less than appalling.

“Germany remains stuck in an appeasement mindset towards Moscow.

“So does France and so does much of the EU ruling elite.”

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Olaf Scholz

Gardiner accused Germany of having ‘appeased Putin’s Russia for decades’ (Image: Getty)

Zelensky

Zelensky thinks Germany’s approach has been ‘nothing less than appalling’, Gardiner claimed (Image: Getty)

He explained: “The reality is that EU continues to buy huge amounts Russian energy.

“The EU effectively funds the Russian war machine. That hasn’t changed at all.

“And Berlin, Paris and Brussels, this axis is at the heart of that.

“And has anything fundamentally changed since the invasion of Ukraine began? I would say it hasn’t.”

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Share of Gas supply from Russia

Share of Gas supply from Russia (Image: Express)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for an all-out embargo on Russian energy, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has voiced his opposition to the plans, saying that doing it too quickly would cause a European recession.

Speaking to the Bundestag, he said: “We will end this dependence [on Russian oil, coal and gas] as quickly as we can, but to do that from one day to the next would mean plunging our country and all of Europe into a recession.”

Contrasting the EU’s approach to that of the UK, Mr Gardiner said: “Whereas Brexit Britain is really standing up to Russia alongside Poland and the Baltic states and some of the eastern and central European countries.

“And if you look at what western Europe is doing, it isn’t significantly different to what it was before the invasion.

Olaf Scholz

Scholz said that phasing out Russian energy too quickly would cause a recession in Europe (Image: Getty)

“And that’s hugely disappointing really.”

The UK has pledged to phase out imports of Russian oil products by the end of 2022 and is considering banning gas imports.

Russian gas accounts for about 4 percent of the UK’s gas supply.