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An embargo on Russian oil throughout the bloc is becoming increasingly likely, and now the likes of Austria, Hungary and Slovakia have withdrawn their veto, according to German broadcaster ZDF. It comes ahead of the EU hitting Russia with a sixth round of crippling economic sanctions.
Diplomats have said European countries such as Slovakia and Hungary had been against a quick import ban, primarily because of their great dependence on Russian oil supplies, according top ZDF.
In a number of southern European countries, the anticipated increase in energy prices for consumers after an embargo has been met with serious concerns.
Earlier today, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he told the EU’s top diplomat that the bloc’s next round of sanctions must include an oil embargo on Russia.
He wrote on Twitter after his call with Josep Borrell: “I spoke with @JosepBorrellF on the next round of EU sanctions on Russia which must include an oil embargo.
Hungary and Austria have caved on a veto over an EU-wide ban on Russian oil (Image: GETTY)
Putin news: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (Image: GETTY)
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister added: “I also emphasised there can be no alternative to granting Ukraine EU candidate status.
“We paid separate attention to further safe evacuation from besieged Mariupol.”
The EU is now increasingly leaning towards a ban on imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, Reuters has cited two EU diplomats as saying.
Talks have been taking place this weekend between the European Commission and EU member states.
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Putin news: Joosep Borrell sdpoke with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister on Sunday (Image: GETTY)
Brussels is putting together another package of sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine just over two months ago.
The new round of measures is expected to target Russian oil, Russian and Belarusian banks, as well as more individuals and companies.
The EU Commission held talks dubbed “confessionals” with small groups of EU countries and is looking to finalise its sanctions plan in time for a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday.
EU energy ministers will also meet in the Belgian capital on Monday to hold talks on the issue.
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Putin news: Germany, led by Olaf Scholz, appears ready to follow with the end-of-year cut-off (Image: GETTY)
Diplomats had said some EU countries were able to end their use of oil before the end of this year but others, particularly more southern nations, had been worried about the subsequent impact on prices.
Germany appeared to be willing to follow with the end-of-year cut-off, according to diplomats, but the likes of Austria, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia had reservations.
Joerg Kukies, an advisor to German chancellor Olaf Scholz, said his country backed an EU ban on Russian oil imports but needed a few months to secure alternatives.
He was quoted by the Financial Times as saying: “We’re asking for a considered wind-down period.
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“We want to stop buying Russian oil, but we need a bit of time to make sure we can get other sources of oil into our country.”
Mr Kukies insisted the country wanted to ensure a refinery in Schwedt, run by Russian state oil company Rosneft, could be supplied with non-Russian oil transported by tankers to Rostock on the Baltic Sea.
He added in order to allow this, the port of Rostock would have to be deepened and more work done on the pipeline linking it to Schwedt.