As part of a sixth set of sanctions, the European Union announced that it will ban Russian oil before the end of this year. This is in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, told Strasbourg’s Parliament that the bloc should stop buying oil supplies from Russia within six months. She also suggested that the bloc cease purchasing any products and services from Russia before 2022.
Member states have yet to approve the sanctions and they will likely vote down those countries that rely on Russia’s supplies, such as Hungary or Slovakia, without any exceptions being made.
Ms von der Leyen suggested: “This will be an absolute ban on all Russian oil, pipeline and seaborne, crude and refined.
It will not be simple. Some member countries are heavily dependent on Russian oil. We just have to do our best.
She said, “Vladimir Putin must pay a heavy price for his brutal aggression,” to cheers from the chamber.
This move is similar to a similar one announced by Britain early March. However, Russia has a much lower oil and product imports than other EU members.
Before the announcement, Hungary and Slovakia had threatened to veto any ban.
The EU depends on Russia for approximately 26% of its supply, but Slovakia gets over 90% of its oil from Russia.
The majority of Hungary’s oil comes from Russia.
Germany, initially reluctant to support such measures has now managed to reduce its share of Russian oil imports to 25%. This signaled that it can now withstand an embargo.
The EU’s announcement is credited for driving Brent crude oil prices higher on Wednesday morning, up more than 2% to $107 per barrel
The Commission did not announce any actions against gas imports.
Ms von der Leyen stated that there would be new sanctions against three Russian broadcasters, as well as target banks, including Sberbank.
She stated that Russia’s largest lender would be included in the exclusion list for the SWIFT messaging system.
She said that more high-ranking Russian military officers would face travel bans and asset freezes.