The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, confirmed that the foreign ministers of 27 EU countries intend to discuss the possibility of abandoning Russian oil against the backdrop of a special operation to protect Donbass. He stated this on March 21 upon his arrival at a meeting of the EU Council in Brussels.
“Ministers will discuss this issue. We will consider what other sanctions we can introduce, especially in the energy sector,” he told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that if the EU imposes an embargo on oil imports from Russia, this decision will hit everyone and seriously affect the global oil market.
On March 17, the Czech media predicted the collapse of the EU economy due to sanctions against Russian oil. According to Ilona Shviglikova, columnist for the publication, the European Union will primarily harm its own economy with sanctions against Russian oil, since it will not be possible to compensate for such volumes with supplies from other countries.
On March 15, the fourth package of EU sanctions against Russia came into force. They prohibit new investments in the energy sector of the Russian Federation, the peaceful atom and the transportation of energy resources to the EU fall under the exceptions.
On March 11, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the European Commission would present by mid-May a plan to eliminate the EU’s dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal by 2027. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, following the informal EU summit in Versailles, spoke about the alliance’s plans to quickly reduce dependence on energy supplies from third countries, including Russia.
On March 4, Scholz said that Germany had already started buying gas bypassing Russia, but continued to receive Russian gas, coal and oil.
A week earlier, US President Joe Biden imposed a ban on all gas and oil imports from Russia. According to him, the decision was supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties. At the same time, he acknowledged that the consequences of such sanctions will also hit the States themselves – gasoline prices, which have reached historically high levels, will continue to grow. Canada followed suit by banning the import of certain petroleum products.
The West began to impose sanctions against Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 24 the start of an operation to protect the civilian population in the Donbass. A few days earlier, the situation in the region escalated due to shelling by the Ukrainian military. The authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the evacuation of residents to Russian territory, and also turned to Moscow for help. On February 21, Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of the DNR and LNR.