March 22, 2023

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Brussels proposes phase-out ban on Russian oil and withdrawal of Swift’s major bank

Brussels proposes phase-out ban on Russian oil and withdrawal of Swift’s major bank

Brussels is proposing to halt European imports of Russian oil within six months and remove Sberbank, the largest Russian bank, from the international financial institution Swift, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday.

He told MEPs in Strasbourg that as part of a series of sixth sanctions against Moscow aimed at drying up funding for the war against Ukraine, “we will gradually suspend Russian supplies of crude oil and refined products within six months.” .

“This would be a complete barrier, allowing all Russian oil imports, whether transported by sea or by pipeline, to be placed in a systematic manner, crude and refined (…) in other supply routes,” he explained. .

Russian oil accounts for a quarter of EU oil imports.

According to several European officials and diplomats, the Commission’s draft – submitted overnight to member states – exempts Hungary and Slovakia. One of these officials said that the two countries, surrounded by land and completely dependent on supplies through the Druzhba pipeline, could continue their purchases from Russia in 2023.

“It will not be easy. Some states rely heavily on Russian oil, but we must work on it,” Ursula van der Leyen told the European Parliament. Said.

Brussels is also proposing to exclude three additional Russian banks from the Swift International Monetary Fund, including Sberbank, the country’s largest company (one-third of the banking sector).

As part of EU sanctions, seven Russian companies have lost access to Swift, which allows the secure messaging platform to carry out important functions such as payment orders and money transfer orders between banks.

“We are attacking the banks, which are structurally important to Russia’s financial system and to Putin’s destructive potential. This will strengthen the overall isolation of the Russian financial sector,” she said.

The Commission proposes to restrict access to European Airways to three major Russian state broadcasters who will be barred from distributing their content across the EU via cable, satellite, Internet or smartphone applications.

“We recognize the role of propaganda elements in these television channels, which aggressively expands Putin’s lies,” he said. We do not consider it necessary to comment on such fabrications. “

maj-jug / fmi / spi

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