Leaders of the EU have agreed on a plan to block over two-thirds of Russian oil imports. Following Hungary's opposition, the ban will not affect pipeline oil imports for now. A major source of funding for the Russian war machine was cut off by the deal, according to European Council chief Charles Michel. This is part of the sixth package of sanctions approved at a summit in Brussels, on which all 27 members have to agree. The EU has also agreed to take hard measures against Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, and three state-owned broadcasters, Michel said, as reported by BBC.
European Council President Charles Michel announced late Monday during a summit in Brussels that sanctions would prevent member states from buying crude oil and petroleum products from Russia by sea, but would offer a temporary exemption for pipeline crude, reported Bloomberg.
Opposition of the ban by Hungary
EU members spent hours attempting to resolve their differences over the ban on Russian oil imports, with Hungary as their main opponent.The Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban maintained a tough stance during the discussion. He blamed the European Commission for failing to properly negotiate the ban with member countries, as per a Reuters report.
He said that energy was a "serious issue" and that "we need solutions and then the sanctions".
EU Council Members' statement
While EU Council President Charles Michel said, the agreement covers more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia. The compromise followed weeks of wrangling until it was agreed there would be "a temporary exemption for oil that comes through pipelines to the EU", Michel told BBC, as per the report."This immediately covers more than 2/3 of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine," Michel said in a tweet. "Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war," he further said in his tweet.
I welcome the #EUCO agreement tonight on oil sanctions against Russia.
This will effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) May 30, 2022
"I welcome the #EUCO agreement tonight on oil sanctions against Russia. This will effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year," Leyen said in a tweet.
Additionally, on Tuesday after the conference, Leyen said while speaking at a news conference, "We should be able to soon return to the issue of the remaining 10% of pipeline oil," reported Bloomberg.
I am glad that tonight leaders agreed in principle on the sixth sanctions package. This is an important step forward.
We also agreed to work on a mechanism to provide Ukraine with a new, exceptional macro-financial assistance package of up to €9 billion. https://t.co/La3bZl6JNp— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) May 30, 2022
Supporting the sanctions on Russia, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said, "We're forgetting the big picture, It's only money. The Ukrainians are paying with their lives."
Extending his support for Ukraine, he added, "We can and we must support them, if only out of self-interest, because only when Russia is defeated can we in Europe feel safe."
Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his discontent
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, questioned the lack of EU resolve. "Why are you dependent on Russia, on their pressure, and not vice-versa? Russia must be dependent on you. Why can Russia still earn almost a billion euros a day by selling energy?" he said in an address to EU leaders.
"Why are terrorist banks still working with Europe and the global financial system? Serious questions," he said while opposing the conclusion.
As a result, the immediate sanctions will only affect Russian oil being transported into the EU over the sea - two-thirds of the total.- With Inputs from Reuters, Bloomberg(Disclaimer: Moneycontrol could not independently verify these news reports)