EU approves oil embargo for Russia and disconnection of Sberbank from SWIFT

Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen
© Photo: Twitter Ursula von der Leyen
Kostiantyn Golubtsov

Kostiantyn Golubtsov

Published: May 31 2022 at 01:43 am

The European Union has agreed on new sanctions against Russia, which include a ban on Russian oil exports to the EU.

This was announced by the head of the European Council Charles Michel.

" This immediately covers more than two-thirds of Russia's oil imports, cutting a huge source of funding for its military machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war , "the diplomat said.

In addition, the agreed sanctions package includes disconnecting Russia's Sberbank from the international payment system SWIFT, banning three other Russian state broadcasters, and punishing those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the decision on oil sanctions against Russia. " This will actually reduce about 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year ," she said.

The summit of the European Council, which discussed the sixth package of sanctions, is still ongoing. Diplomats have yet to agree on the technical details of the decision, and sanctions must be formally adopted by all 27 countries, according to Bloomberg.

According to the publication, Hungary, which blocked the embargo, has received assurances from EU leaders that it will be able to get a replacement if it refuses to export oil through pipelines.

Bloomberg, citing sources, also writes that the European Commission has proposed to ban the export of crude oil from Russia for 6 months and petroleum products for 8 months. Oil supplies through the Druzhba pipeline to Central Europe will be limited until a technical solution is found that meets the energy needs of Hungary and other landlocked countries.

EU sanctions

It will be recalled that the European Union announced the sixth package of sanctions against Russia against the Russian military leadership involved in the Bucha killings, as well as the phasing out of Russian oil, on May 4. But for it to work, it must be approved by the EU Council.

Decisions could not be made, in particular, because of Hungary, which said the oil embargo would do too much damage to the country's economy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán even compared the embargo to an "atomic bomb" for the Hungarian economy.

Orbán said he wanted a five-year reprieve for his country, saying the EU had not taken into account that Hungary had no access to the sea and received oil exclusively through pipelines, making it difficult to replace Russian oil.

The EU then suggested that Hungary and Slovakia impose such sanctions by the end of 2024, and the Czech Republic by June of that year, as they are heavily dependent on Russian oil. But Budapest has said it will support the embargo only if it concerns maritime supplies of the energy resource.

Addressing the European Council on May 30, President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that 52 days had passed since the adoption of the fifth package of EU sanctions against Russia and criticized European countries that had not yet agreed on a new package.

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