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A ban on imports of Russian oil to the EU by the end of the year – in line with the British commitment – is being considered, two diplomats said yesterday.

The development was hinted at after talks between the European Commission and EU member states this weekend.

The European Union is preparing a sixth package of sanctions against Russia which is expected to target Russian oil, Russian and Belarusian banks, individuals and companies.

The Commission, which is co-ordinating the EU response, held talks dubbed ‘confessionals’ with small groups of EU countries and aims to firm up its sanctions plan in time for a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday.

EU energy ministers are also due to meet in the Belgian capital tomorrow to discuss the issue.

The European Union is set to target Russian oil in its latest wave of sanctions against the country. Pictured is a diesel plant in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia

The European Union is set to target Russian oil in its latest wave of sanctions against the country. Pictured is a diesel plant in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia

The European Union is set to target Russian oil in its latest wave of sanctions against the country. Pictured is a diesel plant in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia

The diplomats said some EU countries were able to end their use of oil before the end of 2022, but others, particularly more southerly members, were concerned about the impact on prices.

Germany, one of the bigger buyers of Russian oil, appeared to be willing to go along with the end-of-2022 cut-off, the diplomats said. 

But countries including Austria, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia had reservations. 

An adviser to Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany backed an EU ban on Russian oil imports but needed a few months to secure alternatives.

Some EU countries have proposed opting for a cap on the price they are willing to pay for Russian oil.

However, it would still leave them forced to pay higher prices for supplies from elsewhere.

Joerg Kukies was quoted by the Financial Times as saying: ‘We’re asking for a considered wind-down period. 

‘We want to stop buying Russian oil, but we need a bit of time to make sure we can get other sources of oil into our country.’

Mr Kukies said Germany wanted to ensure that a refinery in Schwedt, northeastern Germany, operated by Russian state oil company Rosneft could be supplied with non-Russian oil brought by tankers to Rostock on the Baltic Sea.

He told the Financial Times that to allow this, the port of Rostock would have to be deepened and work done on the pipeline linking it to Schwedt.

Source: Daily Mail

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