EU Push to Ban Russian Oil Stalled

EU Push to Ban Russian Oil Stalled

According to those familiar with the talks, Hungary continues to obstruct a European Union proposal to prohibit Russian oil imports, putting the bloc’s entire package of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin over his war in Ukraine on hold.

A meeting of the EU’s 27 ambassadors ended without a deal on Sunday, with talks anticipated to resume in the coming days, according to the persons, who requested not to be identified because the talks were private. A embargo on Russian oil being shipped to third nations could be postponed unless the Group of Seven commits to similar restrictions.

The EU’s proposal calls for a six-month embargo on crude oil and an early January restriction on refined fuels. Because Hungary and Slovakia are significantly reliant on Russian petroleum, the EU offered them until the end of 2024 to comply with the sanctions, and the Czech Republic until June of the same year.

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The exemption did not persuade Hungary, which continued to oppose the plan on Sunday, citing concerns about the oil embargo and how to fund the transition away from Russian energy, according to the people.

“We have voted for all of the sanctions packages so far,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement on Sunday, “but this latest one would jeopardize the security of Hungarian energy supplies.” “We will not vote for this package as long as there is no solution to the dilemma presented by Brussels’ plan.”

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The EU had pushed for the sanctions to be lifted by May 9, the anniversary of Russia’s triumph over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Insurance, Shipping

European companies and individuals would be prohibited from supplying vessels and services, such as insurance, needed to carry oil to third nations under an EU plan sent to member states last week.

According to the sources, Greece and Cyprus want the vessel element of the proposal postponed until the G-7 countries adopt comparable measures.

The EU also proposes that:

  • Three additional Russian banks, including Russia’s largest lender Sberbank, have been cut off from the international payments system SWIFT.
  • Restrict the purchase of property in the EU by Russian businesses and individuals.
  • Interdiction of consultancy services and chemical commerce with Russian enterprises.
  • Sanction Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast who is “closely affiliated” with Putin, according to an EU document, as well as Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has been an outspoken supporter of Putin and the Ukrainian war.
  • Hundreds of military personnel, including those suspected of war crimes in Bucha, as well as companies that provide equipment, supplies, and services to the Russian armed forces, have been sanctioned.
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