EU proposed some of the toughest measures against Russia. It included a total ban on oil imports and sanctions on war crimes suspects. Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, stated that the package aimed at maximizing pressure on Russia.

On the other hand, it aims to minimize damage to Europe. She said that Russian crude oil would fade off within six months. Military officers involved in suspected war crimes in Bucha and Mariupol would also face new sanctions.

Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament, “This sends another important signal to all perpetrators of the Kremlin’s war: We know who you are, and you held accountably”. The EU had been focusing for weeks to accustom itself to Russian oil and gas.

It already vowed to reduce gas imports by two-thirds by the end of 2022. It plans now to phase out crude oil over six months. And also phase out refined products by the end of 2022.

EU president said that we would make sure that we phase out Russian oil. The package will first get approved by EU ambassadors. It is set to get signed off in the upcoming days. Slovakia and Hungary currently rely on Russian oil. They will get an extra year to find alternative suppliers.

Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister, stated that Budapest could not support the package in its current form. Whereas Slovakia’s economy minister said, his country wants a three-year transition period.

Last year, Russia supplied the EU with a quarter of its oil imports. Germany was the biggest buyer. However, Germany dramatically reduced its reliance on Russian oil imports.

The percentage went down from 35% to 12%. The UK is no longer in the EU. It is already phasing out Russian oil. This accounts for 8% of its imports. Jozef Sikela, Czech industry, also negated that Commission’s plans did not address how oil would share out.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, stated that Moscow was working on various options in response to the plan. Sanctions are also a double-edged sword for Europeans and others. The cost for European citizens would increase drastically.

Credits: BBC

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