The European Union (EU) wants to apply a progressive embargo on oil and derivatives purchased from Russia, in response to the war in Ukraine, said on Wednesday (4) the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
“We will progressively renounce the Russian supply of oil over a period of six months and of petroleum products until the end of the year,” she told MEPs in Strasbourg.
Von der Leyen admitted that the task “will not be easy. Some member states are heavily dependent on Russian oil. But we have to work on the issue.”
The intention, he added, is for the ban to include all Russian oil “transported by sea and by pipeline, crude and refined.”
In addition, the EU proposes to close the European space to “three major Russian state broadcasters”.
“We will no longer allow them to distribute their content in the EU in any form, via cable, via satellite, on the internet or via smartphone apps,” he said.
Broadcasters were identified as “loudspeakers that amplify (Vladimir) Putin’s lies and propaganda aggressively. We should no longer give them a stage to spread these lies.”
In his speech, von der Leyen announced that the EU intended the new sanctions package to include three Russian banks, including Sberbank, the country’s largest.
Hitting “banks of essential systemic importance to the Russian financial system” will reinforce Russia’s “total isolation” and weaken its ability to finance the war in Ukraine, the German said.
As a result of EU sanctions, seven Russian financial institutions have already been excluded from the SWIFT system, an interbank messaging mechanism that allows international transfer and payment orders.
Von der Leyen thus outlined the sixth package of sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine, which includes a large list of personalities who would be sanctioned, including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
According to documents that AFP had access to, Kirill is described as a “long-time ally of President Vladimir Putin and who has become one of the main supporters of military aggression” in Ukraine.
Patriarch Kirill is the main leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has 150 million believers worldwide.