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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

New EU sanctions to hit Russian oil, target more banks

PoliticsNew EU sanctions to hit Russian oil, target more banks

Brussels (The Times Groupe)- The European Union will slap new sanctions on Russia for waging war against Ukraine, targeting its oil industry, more Russian banks, and those responsible for misinformation, the EU’s top diplomat said Tuesday.

“We are working on the sixth package of sanctions which aims to de-SWIFT more banks, list disinformation actors and tackle oil imports,” Josep Borrell, head of the foreign policy unit at the EU’s executive European Commission, said in a tweet.

Diplomats say the latest round of sanctions would also affect top Russian lender Sberbank (SBER.MM), adding it to a list of other banks prevented from using SWIFT messaging.

Borell said the 27 EU states would be asked to approve the Commission’s proposal against Russia for attacking Ukraine by land, sea, and air on Feb. 24.

On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to unveil the proposed new sanctions, which include a ban on imports of Russian oil by the end of this year.

Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that he could halt exports and deals due to the sanctions burden imposed by the EU and the United States.

As the EU is reliant on Russian oil for 26% of its oil imports, an embargo on Russian oil would deprive Moscow of a significant revenue stream. However, reaching an agreement on the measure has divided countries of the bloc.

Hungary and Germany had reservations about an oil embargo. Their main concern was that rising energy prices would hurt already inflagged EU economies.

Reuters reported that resistance to an oil import ban had waned over the past week as an agreement came together that would exempt Slovakia and Hungary, two countries highly dependent on Russian crude oil.

Over 47 billion euros ($47.43 billion) has been paid by EU countries to Russia for gas and oil since it invaded Ukraine, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

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