EU leaders agreed late Monday night on a political deal to impose sanctions on Russian oil imports.
“Agreement to ban export of Russian oil to the EU,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted from a leaders’ summit in Brussels. “This immediately covers more than 2/3 of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine.”
The Council of the EU must still formally agree on the sanctions.
The compromise will allow Russia’s pipeline oil exports to the EU to continue temporarily, while seaborne shipments are blocked by the end of the year, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced earlier this month.
Von der Leyen tweeted that the leaders’ agreement “will effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year.”
Germany and Poland, which could benefit from the pipeline exemption, have committed themselves to a de facto shutdown of the northern Druzhba pipeline, several EU diplomats said.
There is also an agreement to “complete the [closure of the] southern branch as soon as possible,” an Elysée official said. The southern leg of the pipeline delivers oil to Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
An EU official said the Czech Republic got an 18-month exemption from the ban to cover the resale of oil products.
Hungary has also ensured an there is an emergency provision to ensure the security of supply if their pipeline deliveries are cut off, EU diplomats said.
Slapping an embargo on Russian oil would be one of Europe’s most significant steps in restricting the revenue available to President Vladimir Putin to wage war in Ukraine. But the proposed move was held up for several weeks by Hungary, which argued its economy would be hammered by a blanket ban.
David M. Herszenhorn, Lili Bayer and Giorgio Leali contributed reporting.