Speed Reads

deal reached

European Union leaders agree to ban most imports of Russian oil

European Union leaders agreed on Monday to ban Russian oil delivered by tankers and reduce imports via pipeline, The New York Times reports.

Late Monday, European Council President Charles Michel tweeted, "Agreement to ban export of Russian oil to the EU. This immediately covers more than 2/3 of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war."

It took several weeks for this deal to be reached, with EU leaders having an easier time agreeing to freeze Russian assets and barring imports of natural gas. About 27 percent of the crude oil imported to the European Union is from Russia, and as countries now try to find alternatives, "officials have warned that the financial cost to them will be high," the Times writes.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's allies, and the decision to go with a limited rather than full embargo on Russian oil was for him, the Times reports. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling on the EU to take stronger steps against Putin and Russia, especially as Russian forces bombard the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk with intense shelling.