Europe moves to impose sanctions on Russia again, shuts down due to oil embargo

The European Union has proposed a gradual ban on Russian oil imports, removing more Russian banks from the Swift payment messaging system, and imposing new sanctions targeting people who spread misinformation on Russia’s war in UkraineEU officials said on Tuesday.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday became the first EU official to outline the main parts of a new sixth. Sanctions package against Russia It was drafted by the European Union’s executive body, the European Commission. The proposals were distributed to member states late on Tuesday evening.

The centerpiece of the package is a proposal that the bloc’s member states stop importing Russian crude oil within six months and not buy more Russian refined oil products by the end of the year, according to officials familiar with the details.

However, officials said Hungary and Slovakia, two countries that rely heavily on pipeline oil imports, would be given a gradual cancellation of Russian imports for 20 months under the proposal.

The bloc’s 27 member states, which can only adopt the measures unanimously, will discuss the proposal Wednesday and could make a decision as early as this week, although diplomats said differences remained between capitals over some of the proposed sanctions.

Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine affects global security. We are working on the sixth package of sanctions aimed at swiftly alienating more banks, listing misinformation actors and tackling oil imports,” Mr. Borrell He said on Twitter.

The EU’s move toward banning Russian oil imports represents a particularly important escalation of the bloc due to the importance of energy exports to the Russian economy. It would also be potentially costly for Europe, which relies heavily on Russian hydrocarbons for transportation, heating, power generation and industrial production.

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This move comes after Russia Cut off gas shipments to two member states What Western officials said last week reflected the lack of indications that the Kremlin was ready to scale back its military incursion into Ukraine.

As Europe races to wean itself off Russian energy, US natural gas producers are struggling to meet demand and prices are rising. Factors, including extreme weather and equipment needs, created a bottleneck amid the war in Ukraine. Illustration: Laura Kamerman and Sharon Shea

The Kremlin said the Russian president

Russian President Vladimir Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron warned, on Tuesday, that the West should stop arming Ukraine, in a conversation that lasted more than two hours.

The commission’s proposal would also ask member states to impose sanctions on three Russian banks, including the country’s largest lender, Sberbank. However, the penalties will not include halting transactions with these banks, but instead, they may be suspended from the Swift financial messaging network under the proposal, according to the officials.

Excluding banks from Swift can greatly complicate their ability to make and receive payments internationally, but it falls short of a complete ban on transactions, effectively shutting banks out of international markets.

The European Union is set to Keep sanctions away from Russia’s Gazprombankwhich is used by EU member states to make payments for Russian gas.

Diplomats said there may be some tough discussions over a number of points in the package, although a broad consensus has emerged in favor of an oil embargo.

Hungary has repeatedly warned that it could veto an oil package that does not give it enough time and financial assistance to create the infrastructure needed to wean itself off Russian oil pipeline deliveries. Diplomats said at least two other countries, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, argued that if Hungary and Slovakia were given more time to stop buying Russian oil exports, they should be given the same leeway.

Hungary and Slovakia are located on the route of the Druzhba pipeline, which carries Russian oil to Europe. It also imports a high percentage of its crude oil and petroleum products from Russia.

Some countries have been pushing for full sanctions against

Sberbank

and other Russian banks while some member states, including Poland and the Baltic states as well as non-member Ukraine, urged the European Union to move toward a complete ban on importing energy, including gas. This is still off the table for now despite Russia’s decision to halt gas shipments to Bulgaria and Poland.

However, with Germany and other countries rapidly reducing their imports of Russian oil and gas, most officials believe a sixth sanctions package can be agreed in the next few days.

“Our goal is simple: we must break the Russian war machine,” European Council President Charles Michel said of the sanctions. I am confident that the council will soon impose more sanctions, especially on Russian oil.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union was importing between 3 million and 3.5 million barrels of oil per day from Russia, sending just under $400 million in daily payments, according to the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. This makes up about 27% of the EU’s oil imports.

Oil and gas revenues made up 45% of the Russian federal government’s budget in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency.

Germany said last week that it was rapidly reducing its dependence on Russian oil by arranging new connections to oil supplies. Berlin said only 12% of the country’s oil imports come from Russia, down from 35% before Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Berlin says it has reduced Russian gas to 35 percent of its gas imports, down from 55 percent at the time. A German government official said the country is rapidly replacing Russian energy with imports from the United States, Norway and the Gulf states.

write to Lawrence Norman at [email protected]

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