VILNIUS – New sanctions on Russia the European Union is now considering, including an oil embargo, will hit the aggressor more than the EU economy and will pave the way for EU member states to find alternative suppliers, European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson says.
Tabled yesterday, the European Commission's "full embargo" proposal covers both Russian crude oil and refined products delivered by sea or pipeline, she said.
"But our proposal is meant to be an embargo that impacts Russia more than our own economies. We will do that in an orderly way so that all of our member states would have a chance to find alternative suppliers," Simson said during the launch of a Lithuanian-Polish gas pipeline near Vilnius on Thursday.
The commissioner acknowledged the fact that countries without access to sea and oil terminals "have bigger challenges".
"But all our member states can get rid of Russian oil and this was the core of the sixth set of sanctions," the commissioner said, adding that the EU's first package sanctions targeted Russian refineries.
Speaking of Europe's dependence on Russian gas, Simson pointed out that EU member states were now much better positioned to give up Russian gas than they were in 2014 when Russian occupied Ukraine' Crimea.
The EU is currently considering its 6th package of sanctions for Russia after it started a war in Ukraine in late February. The package includes a ban on imports of Russian oil, but not all EU countries, including Hungary, back it.
Last week, Russia cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland after they refused to comply with the Kremlin's unilateral demand to pay for has in roubles.
The European Commission has warned that Russia may do the same to other EU member states and urged them not to give in to this pressure, and vowed that the EU's response to Gazprom's action will be "immediate, united and coordinated".