The European Commission on Wednesday officially proposed a full ban on Russian crude and oil product imports by the end of the year—a move that sent oil prices rallying by more than 4% in early trade.
As part of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the EC is now proposing a complete ban on Russian oil imports, via any means, in a moveSix designed to come into force within the end of 2022, to give EU member states time to phase out purchases, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the European Parliament on Wednesday.
“Let us be clear: it will not be easy. 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,” von der Leyen said.
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimises the impact on global markets. This is why we will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year,” the Commission President added.
“Thus, we maximise pressure on Russia, while at the same time minimising collateral damage to us and our partners around the globe,” she noted.
The new sanctions package, the details of which were released today, also includes kicking Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and two other major banks, out of SWIFT, as well as banning three big Russian state-owned broadcasters from EU airwaves, as “Putin must pay a high price for his brutal aggression,” von der Leyen said.
In recent days, reports had said that the EU could be considering exemptions from an oil embargo for countries like Hungary and Slovakia, who are highly dependent on Russian oil and Hungary has even hinted at a veto on a Russian oil ban.
The EU member states still have to endorse the Commission’s proposal from today, although it’s already become clear that Russian oil is now toxic for European buyers.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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