A complete import ban on all Russian oil is among measures in the sixth set of sanctions being proposed by the European Commission (EC) in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament on May 4.
She said that some EU countries are strongly dependent on Russia oil “but we simply have to work on it”.
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimises the impact on global markets.”
The proposal is to phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.
Von der Leyen said that the proposals include sanctions on high-ranking military officers and other individuals who committed war crimes in Bucha and who are responsible for the inhuman siege of the city of Mariupol.
“This sends another important signal to all perpetrators of the Kremlin’s war: We know who you are, and you will be held accountable,” Von der Leyen said.
The EC also proposes to de-SWIFT Sberbank – by far Russia’s largest bank, and two other major banks.
“By that, 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,” she said.
The EC is proposing a ban on three big Russian state-owned broadcasters from EU airwaves, Von der Leyen said .
“They will not be allowed to distribute their content anymore in the EU, in whatever shape or form, be it on cable, via satellite, on the internet or via smartphone apps,” she said.
“We have identified these TV channels as mouthpieces that amplify Putin’s lies and propaganda aggressively. We should not give them a stage anymore to spread these lies.”
Moreover, the Kremlin relies on accountants, consultants and spin-doctors from Europe, Von der Leyen said.
“And this will now stop. We are banning those services from being provided to Russian companies.”
Von der Leyen told MEPs that the EC was proposing to start working on an ambitious recovery package for Ukraine.
“This package should bring massive investment to meet the needs and the necessary reforms,” she said.
She said that it should address the existing weaknesses of the Ukrainian economy and lay the foundations for sustainable long-term growth.
“It could set a system of milestones and targets to make sure that European money truly delivers for the people of Ukraine, and is spent in accordance with EU rules,” Von der Leyen said.
“It could help fight corruption, align the legal environment with European standards and radically upgrade Ukraine’s productive capacity.”
She said that this would bring the stability and certainty needed to make Ukraine an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.
“And eventually, it will pave the way for Ukraine’s future inside the European Union,” Von der Leyen said.
(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)
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