[Kyiv / Ribiu / Brussels 2nd Reuters]–Germany announced on the 2nd that it is ready to support an immediate embargo on Russian crude oil over energy exports, which is Russia’s largest source of income. A major shift in policy for the Scholz administration, which has been criticized for sanctions against Russia, has increased the possibility that Europe will be able to embargo within a few days.
The European Commission of the European Union (EU) is expected to propose a sixth sanction against Russia this week, which could include an embargo on Russian crude oil.
Russia’s energy exports have so far been largely excluded from the sanctions of Western countries involved in the Ukrainian war. The Ukrainian government has criticized the loophole as if European countries were sending hundreds of millions of euros a day to the Russian government.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video speech, “The EU is expected to show a new (sanctions) package soon. It should include clear measures to block Russia’s energy revenues.”
Germany’s economic minister, Robert Habeck and finance minister Lindner, said yesterday that they are ready to support the EU’s immediate suspension of Russian crude oil imports. Germany has changed its cautious stance and has shown a policy of supporting sanctions against Russia even if economic costs are incurred.
In an interview with German ZDF TV, Prime Minister Schortz also acknowledged that sanctions against Russia will not be lifted until a peace agreement is reached between Russia and Ukraine.
To maintain EU cohesion, the Commission may exempt Hungary and Slovakia from embargoing Russian crude oil, or allow a long transition period.
EU ambassadors will discuss the oil embargo at the meeting on the 4th.
At the extraordinary EU energy ministers’ meeting held on the 2nd, discussions were held over Russia’s request for ruble payment of gas. The European Commission has acknowledged that using the mechanism proposed by Russia would violate EU sanctions.
However, he promised to give clearer guidance on what would be a violation of sanctions. Many companies in the region are about to pay due within the month, and there have been calls for clarification.
In the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, where Russian troops continue to siege in Mariupol, a strategic point in southeastern Ukraine, the first evacuees arrived at their destination, Zaporozie, by bus on the 2nd.
Hundreds of civilians were trapped inside the steelworks, according to the Ukrainian government. For the first time since President Putin ordered the blockade of the steelworks, he succeeded in escaping with the help of the United Nations.