EU lands deal on Russian oil sanctions with Hungarian exception

Brussels, May 31 (EFE).- The European Union clinched an agreement on a sixth round of sanctions against Russia that will immediately impact 75% of oil imports although pipeline supplies to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, all heavily dependent on Russian energy, will continue.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the new embargoes, which have been agreed in principle, would ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

The sanctions include a total ban on seaborne imports of Russian oil but pressure from Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban ensured that pipeline oil being supplied to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia would continue.

The exception specifically applies to the Druzhba pipeline, which flows from Russia through southern Belarus before splitting into two pathways — one that heads north through Poland into Germany and another that flows south through Ukraine then Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

EU sources told Efe that Berlin and Warsaw had pledged to halt oil imports along the northern route.

Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, on Monday said the exception in the sanctions package was “temporary.”

As well as a ban on crude oil, the sixth round of sanctions drawn up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine includes removing Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, from the international banking system Swift.

It also applied sanctions to individuals such as Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and colonel Azatbek Omurbekov, the so-called Butcher of Bucha, whose troops allegedly committed war crimes in the town outside Kyiv.EFE


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