EU’s strictest Russian sanctions still fall into concern about oil bans

Employees inspect the wellhead of the Yarakta oil field owned by the Irkutsk Oil Company in the Irkutsk region of Russia on March 10, 2019 [Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko/File Photo]

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed the strictest sanctions to date against Moscow for the war in Ukraine, but some countries have agreed on the implications of blocking Russia’s oil imports. It was a hindrance.

New penalties announced by Ursula von der Leyen, chairman, include sanctions on top Russian banks, a ban on Russian broadcasters from European radio waves, and a six-month embargo on crude oil. I did.

The EU imports about 3.5 million barrels of Russian oil and petroleum products daily and also relies on Moscow’s gas supply, so it faces the challenge of finding alternatives when energy prices soar.

Even though diplomats say Hungary and Slovakia will be given until the end of 2023, a few Eastern European countries are concerned that the outage will not give them enough time to adapt.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Sijart said on Facebook that Hungary could only agree to the measures if, albeit with a delay, the import of crude oil from Russia through the pipeline was exempt from sanctions.

Landlocked countries have received more than half of Russia’s imports of crude oil and petroleum products last year, with Prime Minister Victor Oban having a closer relationship with the Kremlin than any other block, according to the International Energy Agency.

Slovakia has requested a transition period of three years, and the Czech Republic has requested a delay of a few years.

Resistance to taking steps to damage the EU economy and Moscow has been raised in recent weeks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a horrifying image of the slaughter in the town and raised concerns about new attacks in the eastern part of the country. It has faded.

Reflecting the widespread western anger at Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s campaign, EU executive chiefs said Moscow must be punished.

“Putin has to pay a high price for his brutal attack,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “Today we will propose to ban all Russian oil from Europe,” she applauded in her room.

The Commission’s proposal requires unanimous support from 27 EU countries to take effect and includes a phased outage of Russian crude oil and refined products in six months by the end of 2022. Insurance and financing services provided by EU companies for oil transportation in Russia.

If agreed, the embargo will reflect the actions of the United States and the United Kingdom, which have already banned one of the biggest sources of income for the Russian economy.

Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic expressed concern about the oil embargo at a meeting of the EU’s national delegation on Wednesday. One diplomat said Greece was also concerned about its impact on the shipping sector.

Simone Tagliapietra of the Brussels-based Bruegel thinktank said Russia’s gradual embargo on oil is dangerous.

“In the short term, Russia’s profits can be high, but it has a negative impact on the EU and the global economy in terms of rising prices, not to mention the risk of retaliation (by Russia) for natural gas supplies,” he said. Said.

Apart from oil, the latest sanctions are proposing to attack Russia’s top lender, Sberbank, and add it to some banks that are already disconnected from the SWIFT messaging system.

The European Commission has also proposed sanctioning Moscow’s credit banks and Russian Agricultural Bank, two EU sources told Reuters.

“We have attacked banks that are systematically important to Russia’s financial system and its ability to destroy Putin,” said von der Leyen.

Sberbank did not respond to requests for comment. Lenders withdrew from almost all European markets in March previously stated that other sanctions would not have a significant impact on their business.

Von der Leyen said Russian officials faced EU asset freezes and travel bans without a name, and the EU also banned European accountants, consultants and spin doctors working in Russia.

According to diplomats, Bishop Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Kremlin Alliance, will be blacklisted, sources told Reuters.

Von der Leyen also proposed a reconstruction plan for Ukraine after the end of the conflict, stating that hundreds of billions of euros would be needed to rebuild the country.

“Ultimately, it will pave the way for Ukraine’s future within the European Union,” she said. [Reuters] EU’s strictest Russian sanctions still fall into concern about oil bans

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