EU unveils embargo on Russian oil imports

by | May 4, 2022

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The European Union is to ban all Russian oil imports, it was announced on Wednesday, as it looks to tighten sanctions against Moscow in response to the war in Ukraine.
Addressing the European Parliament, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said a “complete ban” on seaborne and pipeline crude and refined Russian oil would be introduced in the coming months.

Crude oil supply is scheduled to be phased out within six months, and refined products by the end of the year, although Hungary and Slovakia – both nearly 100% dependent on Russia for fuel – will be given more time.

Von der Leyen told lawmakers: “We are addressing our dependency on Russian oil. Let us be clear: it will not be easy. Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it.

“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimises the impact on global markets.

“Thus we maximise pressure on Russia while at the same time minimising collateral damage to us and our partners around the globes.”

Oil prices rose following the speech. By 1200 BST both benchmark Brent and West Texas Intermediate were ahead 4%, at $109.06 and $106.46 respectively.

The package of sanctions – the sixth round since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February – also includes removing Sberbank and two other Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, and banning three state-owned broadcasters from distributing content in the EU.

A number of military officers accused of war crimes in Bucha and Mariupol have also been sanctioned.

Von der Leyen concluded: “With all these steps, we are depriving the Russian economy from its ability to diversify and modernise.”

EU leaders are expected to green light the sanctions when they meet in Brussels later in the month.

The EU has already pledged to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of 2022.

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