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February 21, 2024
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European Union Leaders Agree On Partial Embargo Of Russian Oil

NB BUREAU

European Union leaders on Monday reached a compromise to impose a partial oil embargo on Russia oil imports to the bloc by year end, at a summit focused on helping Ukraine with a long-delayed package of sanctions that was blocked by Hungary.

The watered-down embargo covers only Russian oil brought in by sea, allowing a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline.

EU Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter that the agreement covers more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, “cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war.”

Mr. Michel said leaders also agreed to provide Ukraine with a 9 billion-euro ($9.7 billion) tranche of assistance to support the war-torn country’s economy. It was unclear whether the money would come in grants or loans.

Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban had made clear he could support the new sanctions only if his country’s oil supply security was guaranteed. Hungary gets more than 60% of its oil from Russia and depends on crude that comes through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline.

The EU had already imposed five previous rounds of sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine. It has targeted more than 1,000 people, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and top government officials, as well as pro-Kremlin oligarchs, banks, the coal sector and more.

But the sixth package of measures announced May 4 had been held up by concerns over oil supplies.

(With inputs from media reports)

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