EU plans phased oil ban on Russia

STORY: The European Union proposed a phase out of all Russian crude supplies within six months on Wednesday (May 4).

The EU's Chief Executive made the announcement along with other planned new sanctions for Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.

An embargo would be a key moment for the bloc, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy and must find alternative supplies.

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen.

"Let us be clear: it will not be easy because some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to do it. So today we will propose to ban all Russian oil from Europe."

Von Der Leyen said refined products would also be phased out by the end of the year and pledged to minimize the impact on European economies.

Oil prices 3% jumped with the announcement.

The EU also targeted Russia's top lender Sberbank, and two other banks - and proposed removing them from the SWIFT international payments network.

“Second, we finally de-SWIFT Sberbank. Sberbank is one of the, is the largest Russian bank, it holds about 37 percent of the whole banking sector and we will also de-SWIFT other major banks in Russia.”

The Commission's proposals now go to the bloc's 27 member states for approval.

An EU source told Reuters that two countries - Hungary and Slovakia - would likely be allowed to buy Russian crude until the end of 2023 - under existing contracts.

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