EU countries reject Russian oil embargo as ‘accomplices’ in war crimes

European Union member countries opposed to an embargo on Russian oil will be “complicit” in war crimes, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday.

• Also read: EU prepares oil embargo, Moscow strikes in western Ukraine

• Also read: Brussels proposes a phased embargo on Russian oil and the shutdown of the main Swift bank

• Also read: The EU is considering stopping purchases of Russian oil

“If a country in Europe continues to oppose an embargo on Russian oil, then there are good reasons to say that this country is complicit in the crimes committed by Russia on Ukrainian territory,” Kouleba said in a live video on Twitter .

“If a country is against an embargo on Russian oil, it means one thing: this country is on the side of Russia and bears responsibility for everything that Russia does in Ukraine,” the head of Ukrainian diplomacy argued.

He made the remarks after Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil, rejected a European Commission proposal for an embargo on Russian oil on Wednesday. This country criticized the lack of “guarantees” for its energy security in this proposal “as it stands”.

“It’s not a question of lack of political will or lack of timetable, but simply of physical, geographic and infrastructural reality,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

The European Union wants to tighten its sanctions against Moscow by gradually banning oil imports in order to “make Vladimir Putin pay a heavy price” for his war against Ukraine, announced European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Its proposals were sent overnight Tuesday to Wednesday to the 27 member states, who were asked to validate them.

Mr Kouleba, meanwhile, “welcomed” those proposals but questioned the proposed phased timeline – stopping shipments of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of 2022. “But it’s better than nothing,” he commented.

“The time for semi-sanctions is over,” he said again, chastising “an absurd situation” in which the EU imposes “multiple sanctions” on Russia after it invaded Ukraine “while it (Moscow) is still for its… gas and oil paid”.

Europeans pledged in March to “gradually” and “as soon as possible” break their dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal.

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