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EU prepares ‘smart sanctions’ on Russia

EU Russia sanctions
The European Commission's Valdis Dombrovskis says the bloc is considering an oil embargo. Photo: Getty
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The European Union is preparing “smart sanctions” against Russian oil imports, The Times says, citing the European Commission’s executive vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis.

“We are working on a sixth sanctions package and one of the issues we are considering is some form of an oil embargo. When we are imposing sanctions, we need to do so in a way that maximises pressure on Russia while minimising collateral damage on ourselves,” Mr Dombrovskis told The Times.

He said precise details of the oil sanctions had not yet been agreed but could include a gradual phasing-out of Russian oil or imposing tariffs on exports beyond a certain price cap, the British newspaper reported on Sunday.

Russia is Europe’s biggest oil supplier, providing 26 per cent of EU imported oil in 2020. Europe gets roughly a third of its gross available energy from oil and petroleum products, in sectors from transportation to chemicals production.

Ukraine and some EU states, including Poland and Lithuania, want a ban on Russian oil and gas, whereas Germany and Hungary are opposed to an immediate oil embargo.

Oil and oil products made up more than a third of Moscow’s export revenues last year. Currently, Europe spends about $US450 million ($623 million) a day on Russian crude oil and refined products, about $US400 million a day for gas, and roughly $US25 million for coal, according to think-tank Bruegel.