EUROPEAN UNION leaders have agreed on a plan to block more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports.
The ban will affect oil that arrives by sea but not pipeline oil, following opposition from Hungary.
European Council chief Charles Michel said the deal cut off a huge source of financing for the Russian war machine.
It is part of a sixth package of sanctions approved at a summit in Brussels, which all 27 member states have had to agree on.
The sanctions include:
- Russian seaborne oil to be banned by the end of the year, with a temporary exemption for pipeline oil.
- Pledges by Poland and Germany to stop importing pipeline oil by the end of the year. This will increase coverage of the ban to 90% of Russian imports.
- Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, is also to be cut off from the Swift payment system.
- Three further Russian state-owned broadcasters banned.
- More restrictions on individuals responsible for war crimes in Ukraine.
Hungary, which imports 65% of its oil from Russia through pipelines, was the main opponent to the Russian oil imports ban, with its Prime Minister, Viktor Orban having good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also said that discussions were has about financial support for Ukraine and the reconstruction of the country.
"Here, we all know that we will invest; we will have a large amount of work – colossal, as President Zelenskyy said – for the reconstruction of Ukraine," she said.
"I think that it is important that we are very well organised on that. Therefore, it was good that we could discuss the proposal of the Commission in the Council to create a platform where we can channel all the international initiatives – be it from the OECD, or the G20, or the IMF, or the World Bank, the European efforts, the ones from our American friends, for example – to be clear together on the direction of travel to raise the necessary investment, but also to be very clear that investment comes with reform.
"Here, it is important that we really stand together to give Ukraine a fair chance to rise from the ashes and to be able to really leapfrog forward what reconstruction is concerned in investment, but also in the improvement of the state of Ukraine."