In response to Hungary’s reservations, a draught of the deal enables pipeline imports. Even so, it would be the most severe response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to far. The European Union has also offered 9 billion euros in aid to Ukraine, and the Eurovision winners have auctioned off their trophy to raise funds for the Ukrainian army.
BRUSSELS, BELGIAN REPUBLICAN REPUBLICAN REPU The European Union agreed on Monday to restrict most Russian oil imports, the heaviest economic sanction yet imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and arguably the greatest sacrifice by Europe.
The agreement is the latest and most far-reaching proof that, after more than three months of conflict, European leaders have grown willing to take steps that they judged too extreme when the invasion began, in response to escalating Russian aggression and crimes. They’ve already cut Russian banks off from international financial networks, frozen Russian assets, and supplied advanced weaponry to Ukraine.
According to a draught deal viewed by The New York Times, E.U. leaders gathering in Brussels approved an embargo on Russian oil transported by tankers, the principal way, with obligations to cut imports by pipeline. The agreement was revealed by Charles Michel, president of the European Council, in a late-night tweet, albeit many specifics still to be worked out.
As a multipronged Kremlin attack drew in on the easternmost Ukrainian-controlled city, Sievierodonetsk, the endorsement arrived. Russian forces proceeded to blast cities and towns, including civilian areas, reducing them to desolate wasteland before attempting to take control.
At the same time, the Ukrainian military launched a counteroffensive to recover Kherson, a strategically important city in the country’s south. A vehicle bombing in Melitopol, another Russian-controlled city, hinted at the kind of ferocious resistance the occupiers may face.
Russia’s war machine is funded by crude and refined petroleum and natural gas sales, which make for the majority of the country’s export revenue and are mostly collected by state-controlled energy enterprises. Due to the war’s impact on pricing, the European Union countries have paid a total of $23 billion a month for Russian oil.
According to analysts, Russia will continue to find clients for its oil by giving discounts relative to international market pricing, but sales volume and earnings would decline dramatically once the embargo takes effect.
While European Union countries scramble for alternatives, officials have warned that the financial cost to them will be high. Europe relies heavily on Russian fuels — 27 percent of crude oil imported into the European Union comes from Russia — and while officials have warned that the financial cost to them will be high. Other sources, if available, are projected to be more expensive; gas and oil shortages are a definite possibility.
The discussion over an oil embargo has revealed the European bloc’s potential fragility, just as Sweden’s and Finland’s attempts to join NATO have revealed the alliance’s cracks. Diplomats express optimism that such disputes may be overcome, but they caution that the unity that the US and its partners have shown in fighting Russia thus far is not assured.
Viktor Orban, Hungary’s strongman leader, whose country relies on Russian energy more than Western Europe, has blocked any agreement on an oil embargo, calling it a “atomic bomb” for the Hungarian economy.
The issue demonstrates how the European Union’s tradition of demanding unanimity among the 27 member states for significant decisions may become a vulnerability — especially if Mr. Orban, who has a friendly relationship with Mr. Putin, is pressured to take additional actions to isolate Russia.