EU proposes gradual ban on Russian oil in sanctions against Moscow

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, February 27, 2022.

Stephanie Lecocq | Reuters

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, on Wednesday put forward new sanctions against the Kremlin which will include a six-month phase out of Russian crude imports.

Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and evidence of war crimes, has pushed the EU to take bolder steps on energy sanctions. But imposing measures that could reduce, or fully cut, Russian energy supplies to the EU have been a complicated task for the bloc.

This is because the region is reliant on Russia for several sources of energy, including oil. In 2020, Russian oil imports accounted for about 25% of the bloc’s crude purchases, according to the region’s statistics office.

“Let us be clear: it will not be easy,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference Wednesday.

“Some Member States are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it. We now propose a ban on Russian oil. This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined.”

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