EU leaders have said that they will block most Russian oil imports by the end of 2022 to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine, media reports said.
The EU-wide ban will affect oil that arrives by sea – around two-thirds of imports – but not pipeline oil, following opposition from Hungary, BBC reported.
Poland and Germany have also pledged to end pipeline imports, meaning a total of 90 per cent of Russian oil will be blocked.
European Council chief Charles Michel said the deal cut off a huge source of financing for the Russian war machine, BBC reported.
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.
Russia currently supplies 27 per cent of the EU’s imported oil and 40 per cent of its gas. The EU pays Russia around $430bn a year in return.
So far, no sanctions on Russian gas exports to the EU have been put in place, although plans to open a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany have been frozen, BBC reported.
The UK – which gets 8% of its oil needs from Russia – has pledged to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year.
Oil prices climbed on news of the EU embargo, with Brent crude rising above $123 a barrel, its highest level since March.
EU members spent hours struggling to resolve their differences over the ban on Russian oil imports. Hungary, which imports 65 per cent of its oil from Russia through pipelines, was its main opponent. Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Because of this, the immediate sanctions will affect only Russian oil being transported into the EU over sea — two-thirds of the total imported from Russia.