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European Union: 90% of Russian oil under embargo by the end of the year | War in Ukraine

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The Heads of State and Government meeting at a summit in Brussels agreed on a gradual embargo on oil transported by ship, ie two thirds of European purchases of Russian oil. A temporary exemption has been provided for oil transported by pipeline, in order to lift Budapest’s veto.

This will cut off a huge source of funding from Russia’s war machine.tweeted the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

Berlin and Warsaw having pledged to stop their imports through the Druzhba pipeline. In total, 90% of Russian oil exports to the EU will be stopped by the end of the year, say European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The extension of the embargo to pipeline deliveries will then be discussed. as soon as possible.

Russia chooses to continue its war in Ukraine. As Europeans, united and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, we are taking new sanctions tonighttweeted Mr. Macron, whose country holds the presidency of the Council of theEU.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called on EU leaders by videoconference to stop their quarrels to quickly adopt the sixth package of sanctions against Moscow, of which the oil embargo was the most sensitive point.

Quarrels in Europe must end […], Europe must show its strength. Because Russia only understands the argument of forcesaid the Ukrainian leader.

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Hungary asks for guarantees

Budapest had subordinated its green light to guarantees on its supply. Arriving at the summit, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, had demanded assurances in the event of a cut in the Druzhba pipeline which supplies his country via Ukraine.

Viktor Orban, standing, in front of European Union flags.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on his arrival at the European Union summit on Monday in Brussels

Photo: The Canadian Press/AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Hungary, a landlocked country without access to the sea, depends for 65% of its consumption on oil transported by Druzhba. It had opposed the initial proposal for an embargo, unless it benefited from a period of at least four years and around 800 million euros in European funding to adapt its refineries.

She also demanded to be able to be supplied with Russian oil by sea if the arrival by pipeline were to be stopped. This is the guarantee we needsaid Mr. Orban.

Unanimity is required for the adoption of sanctions. The political green light from the leaders must still give rise to an agreement ratified at the level of the ambassadors of the Twenty-Seven to settle the details before the measures come into force.

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Negotiations will then take place to also stop imports via Druzhba (a third of European supplies), whose northern branch serves Germany, Austria and Poland, and the southern branch, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. .

For Moscow, however, it is easier to find other buyers for its exports by tankers than by pipeline.

Some Member States fear, however, that the pipeline supply exemption will distort the conditions of competition for oil purchases.

Further sanctions against Moscow and aid to kyiv

Under negotiation for a month, the new sanctions package also provides for an expansion of the EU blacklist to around 60 personalities, including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

It includes the exclusion of three Russian banks from the Swift international financial system, including Sberbank, the country’s main institution.

The leaders also approved the granting of 9 billion euros to the Ukrainian government to cover its immediate cash needs to run its economy.

kyiv has quantified its needs at 5 billion dollars per month. European funding will take the form of long-term loans with subsidized interest rates, a European source said.

The two-day summit is also due to address on Tuesday the consequences of the war-related food crisis and the continent’s energy transformation to do without Russian gas.

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