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turning off the tap

EU announces plan to phase out all Russian oil imports

The European Union announced on Wednesday a plan to ban Russian oil imports from Europe, The New York Times reports.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, that although phasing out Russian oil "will not be easy," member states will "simply have to work on it."

She emphasized that the proposal would implement "a complete import ban on all Russian oil — seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined." Crude oil, von der Leyen said, would be phased out completely within six months, "and refined products by the end of the year."

E.U. diplomats familiar with the sanctions told the Times that "Hungary and Slovakia, two members with outsize dependence on Russian oil imports, would be given until December 2023" to ban Russian oil.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a nationalist conservative, has so far refused to cut his country off from Russian fuel, claiming he is "standing on the basis of the Hungarian national interests."

The U.S. banned Russian oil imports in March.

Per the Times, the E.U. proposal also imposes sanctions on Patriarch Kirill — the pro-Putin leader of the Russian Orthodox Church — and prohibits "E.U. companies from providing Russian clients with services like public relations consulting and accounting."