BRUSSELS, May 31 ― EU leaders yesterday backed a ban on most Russian oil imports, after a compromise deal with Hungary to punish Moscow for the war in Ukraine.
The 27-nation bloc has spent weeks haggling over a proposed total embargo on Russian oil but came up against stubborn resistance from Hungarian premier Viktor Orban.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels hatched a compromise deal to exempt deliveries by pipeline from the ban, after Budapest warned halting supplies would wreck its economy.
“Agreement to ban export of Russian oil to the EU. This immediately covers more than two thirds of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine,” European Council chief Charles Michel tweeted during the summit.
“Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war.”
The head of the EU's executive, Ursula von der Leyen, said the move “will effectively cut around 90 per cent of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year” as Germany and Poland had committed to renounce deliveries via a pipeline to their territory.
The wrangling over the sixth package of sanctions has rocked European unity in the face of the Kremlin's attack on Ukraine after five waves of unprecedented economic punishment on Russia.
Despite the gap in the embargo left by Hungary's opposition, the latest round of sanctions represents some of the most damaging measures taken by the EU so far.
Michel said the package also involved disconnecting Russia's biggest bank Sberbank from the global SWIFT system, banning three state broadcasters and blacklisting individuals blamed for war crimes. ― AFP