EU agrees to partially ban imports of Russian oil

London (CNN Business) — The European Union has agreed to a partial ban on imports of Russian oil, according to the head of the European Council, Charles Michel.

“Agreement to ban the export of Russian oil to the EU. This immediately covers more than 2/3 of Russia’s oil imports, cutting off a huge source of funding for its war machine,” Michel announced in a tweet this Monday night.

Michel’s announcement came on Monday after an extraordinary European Council summit attended by EU leaders in Brussels to discuss a sixth package of sanctions against Russia.

“This package of sanctions includes other strong measures: the withdrawal of the largest Russian bank, Sberbank, the banning of three other Russian state broadcasters and the punishment of those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine,” added Michel.

European Council leaders agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Russian oil supplied by tankers will be banned, while an exception will be made for the southern segment of the Druzhba pipeline, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told a news conference. The northern segment of the pipeline serves Poland and Germany, which have agreed to the embargo. The southern part goes to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Von der Leyen said an exemption will be made for the southern segment, which represents 10% of Russian oil imports.

“We have a clear political statement from Poland and Germany that, like the others, they will reduce Russian oil, until the end of the year. We have covered in general the 90% of Russian oil that is being reduced during this period. 10 remains. or 11 percent that is covered by the southern Druzhba pipeline. For the time being, we have agreed to an exemption,” Von der Leyen said.

EU leaders will meet again in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the bloc’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Officials first proposed joining the US and other countries in banning Russian oil a month ago, as part of a sixth EU sanctions package over the invasion of Ukraine. But the agreement has been held back by some countries, such as Hungary, which are especially dependent on Russian oil supplied by pipeline.

An EU official previously told CNN that a ban on all seaborne oil would cover more than two-thirds of imports from Russia.

Europe is the largest buyer of Russian energy. Russian oil accounted for 27% of the bloc’s imports in 2021, according to Eurostat. That’s about 2.4 million barrels a day, according to data from the International Energy Agency. About 35% of that amount was supplied through pipelines to the bloc, according to the IEA.

But pipeline deliveries accounted for a much larger share of Russian oil shipments to Hungary (86%), the Czech Republic (97%) and Slovakia (100%).

– CNN’s Anna Cooban, James Frater, Mitchell McCluskey and Hira Humayun contributed to this report.

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