EU leaders agree on a partial embargo on Russian oil

European Union leaders reached a compromise on Monday to impose a partial oil embargo on Russia at a summit focused on supporting Ukraine with a long-term delay package of sanctions blocked by Hungary. ..

The watered embargo only covers Russian oil brought in from the sea and can temporarily exempt imports carried by pipeline.

The EU Council Chairman Charles Michel said on Twitter that the deal covers more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, “reducing huge sources of funding for its war machinery. The greatest pressure on Russia to end. ”

The EU has already imposed five sanctions on Russia over the war. It targets more than 1,000 individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, senior government officials, Kremlin supporters Oligarchs, banks, and the coal sector.

However, the sixth action package, announced on May 4, was held up by concerns about oil supply.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has revealed that he can only support new sanctions if the security of his oil supply is guaranteed. Landlocked countries obtain more than 60% of their oil from Russia and rely on crude oil via the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline.

Ursula von der Reyen, head of the EU’s executive branch, kept the chances of a breakthrough at the summit low. But after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged them to end “an internal dispute that only urged Russia to put more pressure on Europe as a whole,” leaders reached a compromise.

The disciplinary move “effectively reduces about 90% of Russia’s imports of oil into the EU by the end of the year,” said Von der Leyen.

The EU obtains about 40% of natural gas and 25% of oil from Russia, and the sector on this issue has exposed the limits of the ambitions of the trade blocs of 27 countries.

In his 10-minute video speech, Zelensky told leaders to end “an internal debate that only encourages Russia to put more pressure on Europe as a whole.”

He said the sanctions package “must be agreed and must be effective, including oil,” as Moscow “feels the price of what it is doing to Ukraine.” Only then, Zelensky, said Russia would be forced to “begin to seek peace.”

This wasn’t the first time the EU had demanded that Russia target Russia’s lucrative energy sector and rob Moscow of billions of dollars daily.

However, Hungary, which leads EU countries such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, is heavily dependent on Russia for energy and cannot afford to stop pumping. In addition to Russia’s oil needs, Hungary gets 85% of its natural gas from Russia.

Orban emphasized that Hungary needed to secure an energy supply and was obsessed with arriving at the two-day summit where the deal was invisible.

German and Polish decisions to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year and abandon oil from the Druzhba pipeline will reach the 90% threshold announced by von der Leyen. Said it would be useful.

The summit will also focus on continued EU financial support for Ukraine, approval of tranches for perhaps € 9 billion ($ 9.7 billion) in support, and military aid and war crime investigations.

Food security issues are scheduled for Tuesday, and leaders encourage the government to speed up work in “solidarity lanes” to help Ukraine export grain and other agricultural products. Is set to.

Some protesters gathered outside the EU building on Monday before the summit and had signs like “No to Russian oil and gas.”


Karel Janicek contributed to this story from Prague.


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