Against the backdrop of the ongoing invasion in Ukraine, the European Union on Wednesday announced the sixth package of sanctions against Moscow. According to European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, the new package stipulates four types of sanctions that have to do with deswifting three Russian banks, including Sberbank, which cover a third of Moscow’s financial dealings. An additional number of high ranking Russian officials and military involved in the massacre in Bucha will also be the target of sanctions. The EU has also banned the broadcast of three Russian channels spreading disinformation across European space, while European lobbying and consultancy companies will no longer be allowed to work for the Kremlin. The most important measure has to do with banning imports of Russian oil. President Von der Leyen warned this will not be easy for Europe, all the more so as some member states are fully reliant on Russian pol. Which is why the package provides for a period of transition for these countries.
„Putin must pay a high price for his brutal aggression. Thus, the future of the European Union is also written in Ukraine. 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. 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.”
According to Reuters, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria have expressed concern regarding the embargo on Russian oil. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have asked for a several-year period of exemption allowing them to increase their oil transport capacity, while Hungary announced it opposes the Commission’s proposition, saying it might seriously affect its energy security. In turn, Bulgaria announced it would ask the Commission to apply certain exemptions in its case regarding the embargo on Russian oil. Conversely, Germany has agreed to the proposition, warning however that such an embargo could create difficulties in fuel supply chains, as well as an increase in fuel prices. Romania’s Energy Minister, Virgil Popescu, expressed solidarity the Commission’s decision, saying Romania imports 70% of its oil demand, of which only 30% is imported from Russia.
(Daniela Budu, Radio Romania International)