As part of the next round of sanctions intended to punish Russia for their ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the European Union announced today a new proposal calling for a complete ban on all Russian energy imports. Additionally, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, would be banned from the SWIFT network.
“We now propose a ban on Russian oil,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech today. “Let’s be clear: it will not be easy. But we simply have to work on it. We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, to maximize pressure on Russia, while minimizing the impact on our own economies.”
If this plan were to be enacted, all crude oil imports from Russia would be gradually phased out over the course of six months, followed by a ban on all refined oil products by the end of 2022. Several EU countries are on board with the plan, as several have already banned the import of Russian coal, though other countries like Hungary and Slovakia have expressed concerns that completely halting Russian oil would do more harm to their energy infrastructure than help.
“We do not see any plans or guarantees on how a transition could be managed based on the current proposals, and how Hungary’s energy security would be guaranteed,” tweeted Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs.
Breaking News: The EU proposed a total ban on Russian oil, its biggest step toward supporting Ukraine and reducing reliance on Russia.
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— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 4, 2022
Western countries and coalitions are taking more efforts to financially isolate Russia from the rest of the world, which in turn will make it much more difficult for Russian President Vladimir Putin to continue funding the invasion of Ukraine, as well as simply keep his country economically healthy.