EU top diplomat hints at more sanctions, even as agency proposes amendments to oil embargo against Russia
The oil embargo was suggested by the European Union's executive on Wednesday as part of a larger package of EU penalties on Russia, the sixth since Moscow started its invasion of Ukraine on February 24
In an effort to win over hesitant governments like Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, the European Commission is proposing amendments to its planned embargo on Russian oil.
Should EU nations fail to achieve an agreement on an oil embargo against Russia by the weekend, a meeting of EU foreign ministers will be scheduled next week, according to EU foreign policy leader Josep Borrell.
The oil embargo was suggested by the European Union's executive on Wednesday as part of a larger package of EU penalties on Russia, the sixth since Moscow started its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Borrell told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Florence that he had faith in reaching "a solution that is shared, as not all countries are in the same situation," and that a deal must be found quickly.
Watch | Ukraine war: Europe proposes ban on Russian oil, aims to phase out Russian crude in 6 months
When asked about a prospective gas embargo, Borrell stated, "Gas is not for tomorrow, but for the day after tomorrow," implying that the EU should take its sanctions against Russia one step at a time.
Earlier on Friday, he said the bloc needs to be "realistic" in its ambitions to wean itself from Russian energy, adding that it must do so in an orderly and cautious manner.
As the situation in Ukraine worsens, Europe, which imports roughly 40 per cent of its gas from Russia, has been trying to diversify its energy supply mix.
"Gas cannot be substituted with something else... if it's not Russian gas it needs to be gas anyway," he said.
The senior diplomat went on to say that there were a variety of methods to punish Russia's oil exports, and that action might not be confined to a simple ban on buying the oil.
"If insurance companies don't provide the insurance for the transportation of Russian oil, it's going to be a big problem for Russian oil exports - not only to the EU but to rest of world," he stated, without providing any other information.
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(With inputs from agencies)
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