The EU Commission announced plans on Wednesday to ban the import of oil from Russia by the end of 2022 and to sanction Russians who committed war crimes in Ukraine.
“Putin must pay a high price for his brutal aggression,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said as she unveiled a sixth set of proposed EU sanctions, which will require unanimous approval from member states before they can come into effect, against Russia.
Von der Leyen said the EU would seek to end its dependency on Russian oil, a major source of revenue for the Kremlin. Crude oil would be phased out in six months and refined products by the end of 2022, she said.
Banning oil imports from Russia “will not be easy”
“Let´s be clear: it will not be easy,” cautioned Von der Leyen, “But we simply have to work on it. We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion to maximize pressure on Russia while minimizing the impact on our economies.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the bloc's parliament in Strasbourg that member states should cease to buy oil supplies within six months and associated products from Russia by the end of 2022.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 4, 2022
If approved, the ban on oil imports will be the second package of EU sanctions targeting Russia’s lucrative energy industry over the war in Ukraine that President Vladimir Putin started on February 24th.
In addition to sanctions on various entities and individuals—including Putin himself and members of his family—the bloc previously approved an embargo on coal imports.
Von der Leyen also proposed that Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and two other major banks be disconnected from the SWIFT international banking payment system and that three big state-owned Russian broadcasters—described by von der Leyen as “mouthpieces that amplify Putin’s lies—be cut off from the EU on cable, satellite, and the internet.
It was also proposed by von der Leyen that fifty-eight Russians be sanctioned, including those von der Leyen said had committed war crimes in Bucha and conducted the siege of Mariupol.
In March, the United States banned Russian oil imports. President Biden acknowledged that the ban would likely come with a cost to everyday Americans.
The US President asserted: “I said I would level with the American people from the beginning…and when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost. It’s going to cost us, as well, in the United States.”