Politics

EU targets Russian oil, Patriarch in new sanctions


The proposed measures embody strikes towards Russia’s largest financial institution and the concentrating on of Patriarch Kirill, the top of the Russian Orthodox Church.

FILE: In this file picture taken on 6 January 2022, Russian Patriarch Kirill celebrates a Christmas service on the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The European Commission has proposed sanctioning the top of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, within the newest wave of financial measures towards Russia that additionally features a phased-in oil import ban, based on a doc seen by AFP on 4 May 2022. Picture: Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP

BRUSSELS – The European Union’s government unveiled Wednesday plans for a gradual ban on Russian oil imports as a part of a raft of recent sanctions to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine.

The proposed measures embody strikes towards Russia’s largest financial institution and the concentrating on of Patriarch Kirill, the top of the Russian Orthodox Church.

If permitted, the oil ban can be the EU’s hardest transfer but towards Russia’s strategic vitality sector that helps the Kremlin finance its warfare, however will nonetheless not contact its big fuel exports.

The embargo is a part of the bloc’s sixth sanction package deal, and can be phased-in over the remainder of the yr to assist international locations adapt.

The EU is the most important shopper of Russia’s crude oil. Last yr Russia provided the bloc’s 27 members with 30% of their crude and 15% of their petroleum merchandise.

“We now propose a ban on Russian oil. This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen informed a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

But, she added, “we will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion”, with crude banned regularly over the subsequent six months and refined fuels by the tip of the yr.

Ambassadors from the 27 European Union international locations met on Wednesday to evaluate her plan, and it’ll want unanimous approval earlier than going into impact.

The proposal additionally requested that Hungary and Slovakia, each vastly depending on Russian oil, be given an additional yr to satisfy the ban, a doc seen by AFP confirmed.

In a press release despatched to AFP, Hungary mentioned it noticed no assure for its vitality safety within the proposed ban.

Asked if this meant Hungary outrightly rejected the EU’s proposal, the federal government press workplace didn’t instantly reply.

‘WAR SUPPORTER’

Von der Leyen additionally mentioned her proposal would deny Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, entry to SWIFT, the worldwide banking communications system.

By hitting Sberbank and two different banks, “we hit banks that are systemically critical to the Russian financial system and Putin’s ability to wage destruction,” she mentioned.

Her proposal additionally singled out Patriarch Kirill, calling him “a long-time ally of President Vladimir Putin who has become one of the most prominent supporters” of the warfare.

The new record primarily contains Russian army personnel, but in addition the spouse, daughter and son of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Von der Leyen mentioned the high-ranking army officers included these “who committed war crimes in Bucha and who are responsible for the inhuman siege of the city of Mariupol”.

“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 mentioned.

The EU additionally proposed banning extra Russian broadcasters from the airwaves in Europe.

The bloc already banned media shops RT and Sputnik in March and pressured tech giants to take away them from their platforms.





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