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A potential EU embargo on Russian oil imports may be in the works, but drafting and preparing for such a ban would likely take “several months,” AFP reported on Friday, quoting European officials.
EU ministers and officials have started to discuss a possible embargo, and although many EU members now support such a move, others—including Germany—continue to oppose a ban on Russian oil imports into Europe.
Following the footage of atrocities of Russian troops in Ukraine, the EU adopted a ban on imports of Russian coal last week. The embargo, however, will not go into effect until August 2022. The delayed embargo will give EU member states time to find enough alternative supplies.
As discussions about the next sanctions package now focus on banning Russian oil, EU officials tell AFP that a potential embargo could be months away.
“Adopting measures on oil means undoing existing contracts, finding alternatives and preventing circumvention,” an EU official involved in the talks told AFP, and added: “That can’t be don’t overnight. It requires at least several months.”
Some top EU officials, as well as many EU members, including the Baltic states and Poland, have called for oil to be the next step in punishing Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine.
Announcing the proposal to ban Russian coal, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech last week:
“Yes, we have now banned coal. But now, we have to look into oil and we will have to look into the revenues that Russia gets from the fossil fuels.”
However, Europe is split on an immediate oil embargo, with the biggest economy—Germany—not willing to go for it, for now, saying an oil ban would plunge Germany, and Europe, into a deep recession.
On Wednesday, a German government spokesman reiterated Germany’s position that it currently is against an EU ban on Russian oil.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.