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Watch: Mr Vitrenko says everything should be done to stop the Putin regime from receiving any revenues

Ukraine’s largest energy firm has told the BBC the West should stop buying gas and oil from Russia.

Yuriy Vitrenko, who runs Naftogaz, said Russian sanctions should be stronger and targeted directly at energy.

To stop the war from spreading “it should make this very clear choice to get rid of this dependency on Russian gas and oil,” he said.

With economic sanctions “you have to believe as if you were at war with Russia,” he added.

Russian oil and gas exports are exempted from Western sanctions for now. But on Thursday, Russia’s second largest oil Lukoil called for an end to the conflict, stating that it was concerned by the “tragic events in Ukraine”.

Mr Vitrenko said that everything should be done to stop the Putin regime – which he described as Russia’s “killing machine” – from receiving any revenues.

He accused the Russian President of using the revenue from oil “to kill innocent people”.

Mr Vitrenko said Russia should be treated like a rogue nation similar to the way the West treats Iran and that the sanctions against Russia should reflect that.

The boss of the state-owned oil and gas company added that energy sanctions should be longer-lasting.

“I would say that it’s not a short-term measure, because I believe that the in the longer term, you can reach climate change targets without Russian gas, so it’s just a matter of choice.”

He added that he thought the oil and gas pipelines have been a deterrent from attack and he had seen evidence that Russian special forces had marked them out.

Mr Vitrenko welcomed Germany’s move to shut down the Nord Stream 2 gas project, which was designed to double the amount of Russian gas that flowed directly into Germany.

Even though he thought the move came too late he said it was “better late than never”.

It was a shock “not just to us, but also to the Germans” that Putin took the actions he did, Mr Vitrenko said.

He said it a was “pleasant surprise that finally Europe, and Germany in particular, are serious about making sure that Putin stops getting a revenue stream”.

Mr Vitrenko’s voice adds to a growing chorus that is pressuring policymakers in the US and Europe to sanction Russian oil and gas.

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented a plan for the European Union to cut Russian imports by a third within a year and urged the European Union to sign no new supply contracts with Russia’s Gazprom.

“Nobody is under any illusions anymore. Russia’s use of its natural gas resources as an economic and political weapon show Europe needs to act quickly to be ready to face considerable uncertainty over Russian gas supplies next winter,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

Meanwhile in Washington, top Democrat Nancy Pelosi said she supported a ban on Russian energy, while US Senator John Kennedy, a Republican, said Western sanctions have left a big hole by leaving energy transactions exempt.

“How are we going to throw Russia out of the international community and global markets if we don’t attack their oil?” he said at a hearing with the head of America’s central bank.

Sanctions against Russia have already disrupted energy markets, including by pushing Western companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, to take steps to quit their investments in the country.

Russia attacks Ukraine: More coverage