By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — The European Union confirmed its intention to end all imports of Russian crude oil and refined products by the end of the year, its most extreme measure yet to apply economic pressure on Russia to end its war in Ukraine.
Oil prices rose in reaction to the news, anticipating increased competition for the world’s non-Russian supplies as European buyers chase substitute deliveries. By 3:45 AM ET (0745 GMT), U.S. crude futures were up 2.8% at $105.31 a barrel, while Brent futures were up 2.7% at $107.84 a barrel.
As part of its sixth sanctions package, the bloc said it will also expel Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, and other lenders from the SWIFT financial messaging network, further increasing the country’s isolation from the international financial system.
The moves have been widely expected after Germany, the EU’s largest economy and biggest member state by population, abandoned its opposition to an embargo last week.
Under the measures, the EU will end imports of crude oil within six months, and imports of refined products by the end of 2022. The slightly longer timeframe for products is due to the higher level of dependency on Russia for diesel fuel in particular.
Addressing the EU Parliament, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen gave no immediate indication of any exemptions from the new regulation, despite previous reports that Hungary and Slovakia, whose energy complexes were set up in the Soviet era to be completely dependent on Soviet pipelines, would be allowed to carry on importing.