European Union leaders reached a compromise Monday to impose a partial oil embargo on Russia at a summit focused on helping Ukraine with a long-delayed package of sanctions that was blocked by Hungary. The watered-down embargo covers only Russian oil brought in by sea, allowing a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline, the AP reports. EU Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter that the agreement covers more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, "cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war."
The EU had already imposed five previous rounds of sanctions on Russia over its war. It has targeted more than 1,000 people, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and top government officials, as well as pro-Kremlin oligarchs, banks, the coal sector, and more. But the sixth package of measures announced May 4 had been held up by concerns over oil supplies. Hungary Prime minister Viktor Orban had made clear he could support the new sanctions only if his country's oil supply security was guaranteed. The landlocked country gets more than 60% of its oil from Russia and depends on crude that comes through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline.
Speaking to the EU leaders Monday in a 10-minute video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged them to end "internal arguments that only prompt Russia to put more and more pressure on the whole of Europe." He said the sanctions package they approve "needs to be effective, including (on) oil," so that Russia "feels the price for what it is doing against Ukraine" and the rest of Europe. Only then, Zelensky said, will Russia be forced to "start seeking peace."
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