The European Union was preparing sanctions on Russian oil on Monday, with possible exemptions for wary countries, and warned that complying in full with Moscow’s proposed scheme to receive gas payments in roubles would breach existing EU sanctions.
The European Commission is expected to propose a sixth package of EU sanctions this week against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including a potential embargo on buying Russian oil – a measure that would deprive Moscow of a large revenue stream, but that has so far divided EU countries.
Russia supplies 40% of EU gas and 26% of its oil imports.
To keep the 27-nation bloc united, the Commission may offer Hungary and Slovakia an exemption or a long transition period – with any overall ban likely to be phased in by the year-end, officials said on Monday.
Both Hungary and Slovakia are heavily dependent on Russian crude. Hungary has said it would oppose energy sanctions.
Resistance from other countries to an oil embargo appeared to be fading ahead of a meeting on Wednesday when ambassadors from EU countries will discuss the proposed sanctions.
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