EU chief proposes ‘complete import ban on all Russian oil’ within six months in new sanctions over Ukraine War
- "It will not be easy. Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it," von der Leyen said of the proposal, which requires approval from all 27 EU countries to take effect.
European Union countries will stop importing Russian oil and refined products, the head of the bloc's executive European Commission said on Wednesday in proposing a sixth round of sanctions against Moscow for waging a war on Ukraine.
"We will phase out Russian supply of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year," Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament, prompting applause from lawmakers. "This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined."
"It will not be easy. Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it," von der Leyen said of the proposal, which requires approval from all 27 EU countires to take effect.
Ukraine's Severodonetsk was "fully occupied" by the Russian army, its mayor said on Saturday, after weeks of fighting over the key eastern city. The Ukrainian army on Friday said it would withdraw its forces from the city of some 100,000 inhabitants before the war to better defend the neighbouring city of Lysychansk. Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said civilians had started to evacuate the Azot chemical plant, where several hundred people had been hiding from Russian shelling.
Ukraine said it came under "massive bombardment" Saturday from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict, the day after announcing a retreat from the strategic city of Severodonetsk. Belarus has provided logistic support to Moscow since the February 24 invasion, particularly in the first few weeks, and like Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions -- but is officially not involved in the conflict.
President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law the first significant federal bill on gun safety in decades, saying that while it falls short of what's really needed it will "save lives. While this bill doesn't do everything I want, it does include actions I've long called for that are going to save lives," he said at the White House before leaving for major diplomatic summits in Europe.
Iran's talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with the US will restart in the “coming days,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles said. The negotiations “have to be finished, three months have passed,” Borrell said. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reiterated his call to the Biden administration to take a “realistic and fair” approach to help reach an agreement. The US pulling out of the Iran accord has increased tensions between the countries.
China deployed “aerial and ground forces” to monitor an US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft, which flew over the Taiwan Strait on Friday in the backdrop of large scale Chinese armed forces' military drills around the self-ruled island of Taiwan earlier this week. The US Navy's reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Taiwan Strait on Friday in what the US Indo-Pacific Command described as a demonstration of the US's “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”.