The European Union is considering a plan to ban all imports of oil from Russia within the next six months. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the revelation when speaking before the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday.
The news comes as little surprise. The west has implemented a wide variety of economic sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to its invasion of Ukraine which is now in its third month. What Russian President Vladimir Putin expected would only last for a few days has turned into a war of attrition with western nations condemning the attack as an illegal war.
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Russia, for its part, has used its large supplies of oil and natural gas as a tool with which to intimidate Europe should the E.U. take a stand against its policies, threatening to close the spigot at any time. But the sharp rise in the price of oil since the start of the conflict has not kept either the Europeans or the Americans from continuing their policies of economic sanctions against Russia. They are also moving towards new environmental policies to reduce greenhouse emissions by moving towards renewable energies and electric vehicles. This means that they will soon no longer need Russian oil.
President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament, “This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined.”
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion,” she added, promising that the move will be done “in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and, at the same time, be very careful that we minimize the impact on the global market. And this is why we will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.”
But President von der Leyen understands that this is not an easy move to make. “Let us be clear, it will not be easy,” she told European deputies. “Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it.”