TALLINN – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said at a meeting of the heads of state and government of the European Union held in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday that Europe's firm course is giving up Russian energy.
An agreement was reached on the sixth round of sanctions, a decision was made to provide economic assistance to Ukraine and energy issues were also discussed at the meeting, government spokespeople said.
Other topics discussed included defense and security issues and food security.
"The sixth round of sanctions has been adopted and we are abandoning Russian energy carriers as soon as possible. We must start work immediately on the next round of sanctions, because we have not done enough as long as the war in Ukraine continues and Ukraine has not won and no fair peace has been established," Kallas said at the European Council.
Sanctions will be applied immediately to the majority of Russian oil imports and the European Commission estimates that Russian oil imports to the European Union will decrease by almost 90 percent by the end of the year. Countries without maritime borders have a certain transition period until the necessary infrastructure and connections with other EU countries are in place to ensure security of supply.
At the same time, the prime minister said that EU must continue to work on abandoning Russian gas.
"We have set ourselves the goal of giving up Russian energy carriers as soon as possible. The faster we do this, the faster Putin's war machine will run out of fuel," Kallas said.
According to the European Commission's REPowerEU plan, the goal is to phase out most of Russian energy by the end of this year, diversifying suppliers together with LNG capacity building, accelerating the deployment of renewable energy and developing energy-saving measures.
While in Brussels, Kallas also stressed that peace must not be imposed on Ukraine.
"Only the Ukrainians themselves can say what the conditions are for peace. Russia can end the war. The European Union will continue to exert economic and political pressure on Russia and isolate it, as well as to provide comprehensive assistance to Ukraine. In this context, it is also important to give Ukraine the fastest and clearest possible hope of becoming an European Union candidate country," Kallas added.
The EU will continue to assist Ukraine, including an additional 9 billion euros in budget support and humanitarian aid. In addition, it was decided that ways should be found to further support member states in receiving war refugees and Ukraine in rebuilding the country.