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The European Union (EU) has given its final approval for sanctions including a partial ban on imports of Russian oil in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The approval for sixth package of sanctions, which includes ban on Russia’s top bank Sberbank, follows withdrawal of objections by Hungary, which had been holding it up since weeks.
Said to be EU’s toughest sanctions so far, the new measures are intended to limit Russia’s financing ability for the war in Ukraine.
The sanctions package also includes removal of Russia’s top bank Sberbank from international payments system SWIFT targets Credit Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agricultural Bank.
Recently, EU leaders agreed to an embargo to cut Russian crude oil imports by sea to member states by end-2022 and refined petroleum products in a period of eight months.
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However, countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic secured exemptions for the Russian oil imports via the Druzhba pipeline on which they relay.
These landlocked countries are given additional time to implement measures to cut oil supplies from Russia.
Commenting on the EU’s new measures, EU executive commission Ursula von der Leyen was cited by Reuters as saying: “This will reduce Russia’s capacity to finance its war.”
Furthermore, the new sanctions will see immediate ban on insuring ships that transport Russian oil elsewhere, Reuters reported citing an EU official.
The European countries are also required to phase out the existing contracts with Russian firms over a period of six months.
In a separate development, amid surging global crude oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, has agreed to boost crude oil production to make it for Russia’s crude production decline.
OPEC+ aims to boost oil output by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and August 2022. This marks an increase from 432,000 bpd output planned in June 2022.