European Union proposes Russian oil ban

Brussels: The European Union (EU) has proposed its toughest measures yet against Russia, including a total ban on oil imports and sanctions on war crimes suspects, BBC reported.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the package was aimed at maximising pressure on Russia while minimising damage to Europe.

Russian crude oil would be phased out within six months, BBC reported citing Ursula von der Leyen

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Military officers involved in suspected war crimes in Bucha and Mariupol would also face new sanctions.

“This sends another important signal to all perpetrators of the Kremlin’s war: We know who you are, and you will be held accountable,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament on Wednesday.

The EU has been focusing for weeks on how to wean itself off Russian oil and gas. It has already pledged to reduce gas imports by two-thirds by the end of 2022 and now plans to phase out crude oil over six months and refined products by the end of 2022.

“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion,” the Commission president said.

Slovakia and Hungary, which currently rely on Russian oil, would be given an extra year to find alternative suppliers. A Hungarian government spokesman said they had not yet seen plans or guarantees for a transition.

Last year, Russia supplied the EU with a quarter of its oil imports, and Germany was the biggest buyer. However, Germany has dramatically reduced its reliance on Russian oil imports, down from 35 per cent to 12 per cent. The UK, which is no longer in the EU, is already phasing out Russian oil, which accounts for 8 per cent of its imports.

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