EU approves 6th package of anti-Russia sanctions, including oil
The European Union approves a new round of sanctions on Russia, which include a phase-out of Russian oil and more SWIFT cutoffs.
The European Union on Friday officially approved the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including a gradual phase-out of the country's oil. The measures also saw the EU cutting more Russian banks from the SWIFT system.
"In light of Russia's continuing war of aggression against Ukraine and Belarus' support to it, as well as the reported atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Ukraine, the Council decided today to impose a sixth package of economic and individual sanctions targeting both Russia and Belarus," the European Council said in a statement.
The fresh sanctions include a ban on the purchase, import, and transfer of crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia into the EU. The phase-out of Russian oil will take "from 6 months for crude oil to 8 months for other refined petroleum products."
"A temporary exception is foreseen for imports of crude oil by pipeline into those EU member states that, due to their geographic situation, suffer from a specific dependence on Russian supplies and have no viable alternative options," the statement added.
The EU is also granting Bulgaria and Croatia temporary derogations on the import of Russian seaborne crude oil and vacuum gas oil, respectively.
Three Russian banks are being pulled from SWIFT, Russia's largest bank Sberbank, Credit Bank of Moscow, and Russian Agriculture Bank.
"A temporary exception is foreseen for imports of crude oil by pipeline into those EU member states that, due to their geographic situation, suffer from a specific dependence on Russian supplies and have no viable alternative options. Moreover, Bulgaria and Croatia will also benefit from temporary derogations concerning the import of Russian seaborne crude oil and vacuum gas oil respectively," the statement said.
The European Union is suspending the broadcasting activities of various other state-owned media outlets, namely Rossiya RTR/RTR Planeta, Rossiya 24, and TV Centre International. These are not the first broadcasters to have their operations suspended throughout the EU, as the bloc previously sanctioned Russia Today and Sputnik.
"These measures will not prevent those media outlets and their staff from carrying out activities in the EU other than broadcasting, e.g. research and interviews," the statement explained.
Just yesterday, the United States has sanctioned Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova in the latest round of sanctions on Russian individuals and entities.
Among the 16 entities is the Russian steel and mining company, Severstal.
"The United States, alongside over 30 partners around the world, has imposed unprecedented sanctions and export controls to hold President Putin to account for his war against Ukraine, restrict Russia's access to critical technology it needs to fund its war machine, and turn Russia into a global financial pariah," a White House statement read.
The United States has been spearheading a western campaign to impose sanctions on Russia in light of the Ukraine war, which saw Moscow coming under a tide of comprehensive sanctions, including restrictions on the Russian central bank, export control measures, SWIFT cutoff for select banks, and closure of airspace to all Russian flights. Many of their companies have suspended their Russian operations.