The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, on Wednesday proposed an embargo on import of Russian crude in six months, Reuters reported. The refined oil products will be used till the end of this year, the commission added.
The European Union governments, which are heavily dependent on Russia for oil, will have to find alternative sources of oil supply if the commission’s proposal is approved.
“We are addressing our dependency on Russian oil,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “And let us be clear, it will not be easy because some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil, but we simply have to do it.”
Von der Leyen was talking to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“[Vladimir] Putin must pay a price, a high price, for his brutal aggression [on Ukraine],” she said.
Russia is the world’s largest exporter of crude and fuels and with numerous buyers boycotting the country, it has raised fears of supply disruption.
After the Russian offensive in Ukraine began on February 24, international oil prices crossed the $100 per barrel mark for the first time in seven years. On Wednesday, the price of Brent crude stood at $108.66 (Rs 8,297), according to Bloomberg.
Brent is a global price benchmark for crude oil extracted from the Atlantic basin. It is used to set the price of two-thirds of the world’s trade of crude oil supply.
The United States and United Kingdom have already banned oil imports from Russia.
These embargoes are among the many sanctions placed by western countries on Russia after it invaded Ukraine.
The Kremlin has described its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies have said that this is a baseless pretext for a war of choice. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced by Russia’s invasion.
Other sanctions from EU
The European Union on Wednesday also proposed sanctions on Russia’s top lender Sberbank, and a ban on Russian broadcasters, Reuters reported.
“We hit banks that are systemically critical to the Russian financial system and Putin’s ability to wage destruction,” von der Leyen said. “This will solidify the complete isolation of the Russian financial sector from the global system.”
Some Russian banks have already been cut off from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift.
Swift is a secure platform used by financial institutions to exchange information about global monetary transactions. The system operates as a middleman to verify transactions by providing secure financial messaging services to more than 11,000 banks in over 200 countries.
Meanwhile, Russian broadcasters RTR-Planeta and R24 will be shut out of European airwaves, the European Union said.