What you need to know about the EU’s proposed sixth round of sanctions against Russia

What you need to know about the EU’s proposed sixth round of sanctions against Russia
FILE PHOTO: The European Union flags flutter ahead of the gas talks between the EU, Russia and Ukraine at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The EU has long been talking about imposing bans on Russian oil imports, a decision that will probably make some EU countries suffer economically. So when the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, finally announced proposals for its sixth and toughest round of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, it marked the EU’s strongest form of support for Ukraine.

The announcement included proposals about gradual import curbs in an attempt to deprive Putin of money to fund the war. Other plans include sanctions against Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, along with two other main Russian banks, and individuals who took part in war crimes. “We know who you are,” von der Leyen said. “We will hold you accountable. You’re not getting away with it.”

All 27 member states still need to agree on the package for it to go through, which von der Leyen conceded may not be easy, especially because certain countries, like Hungary and Slovakia, are much more reliant on Russian oil. But, one source close to the matter said certain countries might receive exemptions, which will encourage their support of the package.

Key comments:

“With all these steps, we are depriving the Russian economy from its ability to diversify and modernize,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “Putin wanted to wipe Ukraine from the map. He will clearly not succeed.”

“Let us be clear, it will not be easy,” said von der Leyen. “Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it.”

“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimizes the impact on global markets,” said von der Leyen. “This is why we will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year. Thus, we maximize pressure on Russia, while at the same time minimizing collateral damage to us and our partners around the globe. Because to help Ukraine, our own economy has to remain strong.”