Leaders within the European Union have finally agreed a compromise that will see a partial oil ban imposed on Russia, following a summit focused on helping Ukraine’s war effort. Although watered-down because previously proposed sanctions had been blocked by
Hungary, it means an embargo will be implemented, albeit covering only Russian oil brought in by sea. Imports delivered by pipeline have been allowed a temporary exemption, according to reports from the Associated Press news agency. Charles Michel, the EU Council President, posted a statement on Twitter, saying the agreement covered more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, “cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war.”
The EU had already imposed five previous rounds of sanctions on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. It targeted more than 1,000 people, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and top government officials, as well as pro-Kremlin oligarchs, banks, the coal sector and more.
But a sixth package of measures announced on May 4 had been held up by concerns over oil supplies. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban had made clear he could support the new sanctions only if his country’s oil supply was guaranteed. The landlocked country gets 60 per cent of its oil from Russia and depends on crude oil via the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline.
As the summit heads into its final day today (Tuesday), leaders will focus on financial support for Ukraine — possibly worth around £7.6 billion — and on military help and war crimes investigations. Food security will also be discussed, with leaders set to help Ukraine export grain and other produce.
The decision for additional sanctions on Russia came as protesters gathered outside EU buildings, waving placards like, “No to Russian oil and gas.”