EU bans most Russian oil imports to “stop Putin’s war machine” in Ukraine, but takes steps to appease Hungary

The EU has agreed to ban about 75% of Russian oil imports.

The embargo covers Russian oil supplied by sea, but has a temporary exception for imports delivered by pipeline to appease Hungary and other countries concerned about the economic impact of a total ban.

Hungary gets more than 60% of its oil from Russia and depends on crude oil from the Soviet-era Druzhba (“Friendship”) pipeline.

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Charles Michel, President of the European Council, said: “We want to return to the European Council as soon as possible to address this temporary exception and to make sure that we can target all Russian oil.”

He said 75% of Russia’s oil imports to the EU would be banned immediately, rising to 90% by the end of the year.

The sixth package of EU sanctions since the invasion of Ukraine will also cut off Russia’s largest bank, SIFbank, SWIFT, whose global financial transfer system the bloc previously banned several smaller Russian banks.

Three more Russian state broadcasters will be banned from distributing their content in the EU.

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7:01 Ukraine MP on the EU’s ban on oil in Russia

“We want to stop Russia’s war machine,” said Michel, who called the measures a “remarkable achievement.”

“It’s more important than ever to show that we’re capable of being strong, that we’re capable of being strong, that we’re capable of being tough.”

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, praised the measure and said: “As Europeans, united and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, we are taking new decisive sanctions.”

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3:34 “Russia concentrating its forces”

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, has been less enthusiastic, saying it had taken too long to agree on new sanctions in Europe. He noted that the latest package was introduced almost two months ago.

In an address to the Ukrainian people, he said that he was grateful to Mr. Michel for “trying to find the necessary compromises” to make the measures possible, added: “Russia must feel a much higher price for its aggression.

“The key point is, of course, oil. I think Europe will have to give up Russian oil and oil products anyway.

“Because it is the independence of Europeans themselves from Russian energy weapons.

“And the sooner this happens, the more complete the abandonment of Russian oil will be, the greater the benefit for Europe itself in the end.”

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5:47 Ukraine: Front line with 93rd Brigade

Read more: Oil prices rise as EU meets to discuss energy ban in Russia

The new sanctions will be legally approved on Wednesday, Michel said.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, responded to the EU’s decision on Twitter by saying, “Russia will find other importers.”

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The measures were announced on May 4, but were held back by objections from countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The initial goal had been to phase out imports of crude oil in six months and refined products by the end of the year.

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