After more than ten days of discussions, European Union member states have failed to reach an agreement on measures to prohibit Russian oil imports, with Hungary heading a group of nations opposing the idea, according to the EU’s foreign policy leader.
“We will do our utmost to deblock the issue,” Josep Borrell stated. I cannot guarantee that that will happen since the positions are fairly strong.”
The planned Russian oil embargo is part of a sixth package of Sanctions announced on May 4 in response to the Ukraine crisis.
Borrell admitted that some member countries “have more issues because they are more reliant, since they are landlocked,” and that “they only get oil through pipelines, and it comes from Russia.”
EU countries which are highly dependent on Russian oil, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria, have repeatedly voiced their objections to a ban. The Hungarian government says an embargo would deal a crippling blow to the economy.
Last week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that the bloc had failed to find a way of mitigating the damage from an embargo.
Since late February Western powers have imposed severe sanctions on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. The penalties include banning coal imports, freezing Russian assets, closing the skies to Russian planes, blacklisting businesses and other measures.
Aside from banning EU planes from its airspace, Russia’s response has so far been largely limited to sanctions against certain companies related to the seizure of Russian assets, and a demand that “unfriendly countries” pay for Russian natural gas in rubles.