EU proposes Russian oil embargo ‘to put a heavy price’ on Vladimir Putin

The European Union will intensify its pressure on Moscow by gradually imposing a ban on oil imports and imposing new sanctions, in order to ‘to pay a heavy price’ To Vladimir Putin about his war against Ukraine, announced Wednesday 4 May the President of the European Commission.

After deciding on a ban on Russian coal in early April, Brussels is proposing to halt imports of Russian oil – which accounts for about a quarter of the European Union’s oil imports – within six months – Ursula announced on Wednesday. Von der Leyen.

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“We will phase out shipments of Russian crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.”As part of the sixth package of sanctions against Moscow aimed at drying up the financing of the war against Ukraine, she told MEPs in Strasbourg. It will be a complete ban on imports of all Russian oil, transported by sea or via pipelines, crude and refined (…) in an orderly way, in a way that allows us to create alternative supply routes”I explained.

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It won’t be easy. Some countries are highly dependent on Russian oil. But we just have to work on it.”Pleaded before the European Parliament Ursula von der Leyen. We will therefore apply maximum pressure on Russia, while minimizing collateral damage to us and our partners.She said.

Hungary’s concerns

According to several European officials and diplomats, the commission’s draft – submitted overnight to member states – provides for exemptions for Hungary and Slovakia. One of those officials said that these two countries, which are landlocked and depend entirely on deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline, will be able to continue their purchases from Russia in 2023.

After the European Commission president’s announcement, Budapest responded on Wednesday by noting that the proposal to introduce a phased European ban on Russian oil offers nothing. ” Guarantee “ Energy Security in Hungary. “We don’t see a plan on how to make a successful transition based on the current proposals and what will ensure Hungary’s energy security”commented the state press service in an interview with AFP.

Each new package of sanctions against Russia is difficult to adopt, as it imposes policy choices on each member state. Consensus is necessary and nothing is guaranteed to be adopted.”one of the European leaders confirmed.

The dependence on Russian oil is very diverse, in fact, depending on the countries of the European Union: it accounts for more than 75% of the additional European imports of Finland, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. This level varies between 50 and 75% for Poland and Lithuania, and between 25 and 50% for Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Romania. For France, this dependence was contained to less than 25%, as well as for Spain, Italy and Greece.

“Diversification of energy sources, supplies and mixes takes time and requires infrastructure”, confirms Eric Morris, director of the Schumann Foundation in Brussels. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told the European Parliament on Tuesday that European purchases are funding the Russian war effort.

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Three Russian banks excluded from Swift

Brussels is also proposing to exclude three additional Russian banks, including Sberbank, the country’s largest institution (about a third of the banking sector), from the Swift international financial system.

As part of the European Union sanctions, seven Russian institutions have been denied access to Swift, a secure messaging platform that enables vital operations such as the transit of payment orders and interbank money transfer orders. We are hitting system-wide banks that are critical to the Russian financial system and Putin’s destructive power. This will reinforce the complete isolation of the Russian financial sector.”confirmed Von der Leyen.

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The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, an outspoken supporter of the war against Ukraine, is among the new figures on the EU blacklist along with the family of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and several soldiers suspected of war crimes in Bucha, it was reported. The proposal was surveyed by AFP. “So we are sending another strong signal to all those who are fighting the Kremlin’s war: we know who you are, and you will be held accountable for your actions.”Ursula von der Leyen launched the outline of this sixth set of sanctions against the European deputies meeting in Strasbourg.

The proposal was sent, during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, to the member states that were invited to ratify it. It must be approved unanimously. A diplomatic source clarified that the names could be withdrawn and the proposals downplayed. The stated goal is to enter into force to celebrate the 72And Europe Day, 9 May. This date is also celebrated in Russia as Victory Day on Nazi Germany.

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Ban access to Russian broadcasters

The commission is also proposing to block access to the European airwaves for three major Russian state radio stations, which would be banned from distributing their content in the European Union via cable, satellite, internet or smartphone apps.

We have identified the role of the propaganda apparatus of these TV channels, which strongly amplify Putin’s lies. We must no longer leave them free to spread them.”M von der Leyen, without further details.

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Le Monde with Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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