European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled plans for an oil ban during her presentation of a sixth sanction package on Russia at a European Parliament meeting today. It involves phasing out oil by the end of the year, with a complete ban on oil imports after six months and a ban on refined petroleum products like gasoline by the end of the year. Ms von der Leyen said: “Today, we will propose to ban all Russian oil from Europe.
“This will be a complete ban on all Russian oil, seaborn and pipeline, crude and refined.
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion so in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and at the same time be very careful that we minimise the impact on the global market.”
Ukrainian energy advisor Pavlo Kutvah has told Express.co.uk that the move signals a “huge blow” for the Russian President.
He said: “The Russian economic model is that of a gas station essentially. They are selling oil and gas and that is their main revenue, and this is what funds both their corrupt elite and their war effort.
“So, of course, any kind of hit to that is a huge blow to the Russian economy and a huge step towards pacifying Russia.
“I think it (oil embargos) it is a very good idea..it is important that the sanctions work fast and they are broad.”
This comes after Hungary, Slovakia and Austria had threatened to veto oil sanctions after being staunchly opposed to oil sanctions on Russia.
But now, the three nations have withdrawn their vetoes, according to German broadcaster ZDF.
Despite this, Hungary and Slovakia are expected to be exempt from the oil embargo.
Hungarian Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas told HirTV on Sunday that an EU-wide ban would need unanimity, adding that “it makes no sense for the commission to propose sanctions affecting natural gas and crude oil that would restrict Hungarian procurements”.
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Last year, the EU imported a staggering €48.5billion (£38billion) of crude oil in 2021, and €22.5billion (£19billion) of petroleum oils other than crude.
And it currently still relies on Russia for 26 percent of its oil imports.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in early April that “since the start of the war, we’ve given [Russian president Vladimir Putin] €35billion (£29billion) compared to the €1billion (£840million) we’ve given Ukraine to arm itself”.
The sanctions come after the bloc had been mulling over a ban for a number of weeks and had come under fire for not slapping a ban down quicker.
Last month, European Parliament has called for an immediate ban on all of Russia’s hydrocarbons after 413 MEPs voted on the motion.
Spanish MEP Luis Garicano launched a scathing attack on the EU Commission for this delay, arguing that it is “not even trying”.
He said: “President von der Leyen, a gas ban is possible. We aren’t even trying.
“If Europe does not stop funding Putin, history will not see us as bystanders. History will know we were complicit.”