EU leaders agree deal 'in principle' on Russia oil ban

STORY: "I am very glad that the leaders were able to agree in principle on the sixth sanctions package. This is very important," she told reporters at a news conference, following a summit of the 27 national EU leaders.

Von der Leyen explained the remaining 10% will be temporarily exempt from the embargo so that landlocked Hungary, which was the main holdout for a deal, along with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, can continue to have access to the southern leg of the Druzhba pipeline, a huge Soviet-era "Friendship" pipeline that runs across Ukraine.

She said the council agreed to come back to the issue and called the deal a "big step forward". It clears the way for other parts of the latest EU sanctions package on Russia to take effect, including cutting Russia's biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT messaging system and banning three more Russian state-owned broadcasters.

The EU has rolled out five rounds of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, demonstrating uncharacteristic speed and unity given the complexity of the measures. But the oil ban impasse exposed the challenge of expanding sanctions as the economic risk for Europe grows, because so many countries depend on Russian crude.

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