Hungary thwarts the European Union’s desire to impose an embargo on Russian oil

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in Brussels, May 4, 2022 (PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

The European Union’s desire to ban Russian oil imports and impose new sanctions in order for President Vladimir Putin to “pay the heavy price” of the war in Ukraine was slowed Wednesday by Hungary, which Ukraine’s leaders accused of “complicity” in the war. crimes.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szyjjarto declared that the project “cannot be supported in its current form. With all responsibility, we cannot vote for it.”

The consensus of the 27 countries is imperative for the adoption of sanctions by the European Union. It has been obtained in the previous five rounds of penalties.

The Ukrainian government responded harshly to the Hungarian position. “If a country opposes an embargo on Russian oil, this means one thing: this country is on the side of the Russians and shares responsibility for everything that Russia does in Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro accused. clip.

In New York, oil prices rose on Wednesday, under the influence of the European embargo project. With this, Brent crude rose about 5% to close at $110.14, its highest level in two and a half weeks.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen explained to the European Parliament that the Commission recommends in its sixth set of sanctions “a ban on all types of Russian oil, crude and refined, transported by sea and by pipeline” by the end of 2022.

The financial sector is also targeted with the exclusion of the most important Russian banks, Sberkank (37% of the market) and two other institutions from the international financial system SWIFT. According to the document seen by AFP, three Russian television channels, including Russia’s 24 and RTR, will be banned from broadcasting in the European Union.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, an outspoken supporter of the Russian offensive, is among the new figures on the EU blacklist along with the family of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and several soldiers suspected of war crimes in Bucha.

“Responsible” –

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, on January 6, 2022 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, in Moscow.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, on January 6, 2022 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, in Moscow (Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / Archives)

Ursula von der Leyen fired, “So we send another strong signal to all those who are fighting the Kremlin’s war: We know who you are, and you will be held accountable for your actions.”

The proposal was sent overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday to member states. Their ambassadors in Brussels held their first meeting on Wednesday. “Some member states have expressed concern about the embargo,” a European diplomat said.

The goal is to come into force to celebrate the 72nd day of Europe on May 9. This date is also celebrated in Russia as “Victory Day” over Nazi Germany.

“It will not be easy,” the head of the European executive admitted. “Putin must pay a heavy price for his brutal aggression,” she said to the applause of European Parliament members.

“The desire to punish Americans, Europeans and other countries is a double-edged sword. By trying to harm us, they will also have to pay a heavy price. They are already paying for it. And the cost of sanctions for the citizens of Europe will grow day by day,” Dmitry Peskov warned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Minister of Labor and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, May 4, 2022 in Novo Ogaryovo, near Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Minister of Labor and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, May 4, 2022 in Novo Ogaryovo, near Moscow (Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / AFP)

German Energy Minister Robert Habeck admitted that “we cannot guarantee that there will be no disruptions” to oil supplies in Germany.

The European Union has already decided to halt its purchases of coal and has found other suppliers in the United States for a third of its purchases of Russian gas.

– “not enough”

The oil timeline expects to stop importing crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of 2022.

Several countries are “highly dependent” and it is proposed to opt out to allow Hungary and Slovakia to continue their purchases from Russia until the end of 2023. These two countries are landlocked and depend on deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline.

The Czech Republic has also requested to take advantage of this possibility and, like Slovakia, would like to continue its purchases for another two or three years.

The European official stressed that “each new package of sanctions against Russia is difficult to adopt because it imposes political options.” He cautioned that “nothing is guaranteed to be adopted.”

According to the diplomat, “Intensive technical work is scheduled over the next few days to try to adopt this sixth package before the end of the week.” The Committee acknowledged that amendments and amendments would undoubtedly be necessary.

In 2021, Russia supplied 30% of crude oil and 15% of petroleum products purchased by the European Union. It supplies 150 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

European purchases finance Moscow’s war effort and fill the Russian budget with 800 million euros each day.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European imports of gas, oil and coal have brought in 44 billion euros to the Kremlin, according to a study by the Crea Research Center in Finland. The four main buyers are Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and France.

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