EU leaders agree on Russia oil ban 'in principle'

STORY: The European Union pledged to enforce an oil embargo against Russia late on Monday, an agreement in principle that solved a deadlock with Hungary, and the toughest effort yet to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

“Thanks to this, Council should now be able to finalize a ban on almost 90 percent of all Russian oil imports by the end of the year."

European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen told a news conference after day one of a two-day summit, the leaders of the 27 EU nations agreed to come back and discuss the remaining 10 percent “as soon as possible”.

For now, the deal exempts 10% of oil from the ban so that Hungary, a landlocked country, as well as Slovenia and the Czech Republic, have access to a southern Russian pipeline.

Hungary was the main holdout for a deal.

All three countries said the fuel from that pipeline was difficult to replace.

European Council President Charles Michel tweeted the move against Russia cuts “a huge source of financing for its war machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war.”

It now clears the way for other parts of the EU’s sixth and toughest sanctions package against Moscow to take effect.

This includes cutting Russia's biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT messaging system and barring EU companies from providing a range of services to Russian firms.

It also blocks three Russian state media outlets from broadcasting in the EU.

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