The European Union will agree to an embargo on Russian oil imports “within days”, according to Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck.
Hungary has been resisting the EU’s sixth round of sanctions on Russia without investment to allow it to cope due to its reliance on Russian oil.
Aljazeera reports Habeck comments that a “breakthrough” was imminent as the EU prepares a €2bn package to assist central European countries lacking non-Russian supply.
Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil, has said it would need about €750m in short-term investments to upgrade refineries and expand a pipeline bringing oil from Croatia, reports Reuters.
Longer-term conversion of its economy away from Russian oil could cost as much as €18bn it has said.
The European Commission has proposed new sanctions on Russia as well as a €210bn plan to end Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027 but has not indicated how this money would be allocated.
The former head of Russia’s second-biggest oil group Lukoil has warned that a European ban on Russian oil would be “the most negative scenario” for all parties.
Vagit Alekperov, who stepped down as chief executive last month after becoming subject to sanctions told the FT that “it is impossible to replace such a major energy exporter as Russia, even in the medium term”.
This comes as Ukraine’s president Zelensky urged world business leaders at Davos to exert “maximum sanctions” on Russia for its invasion of his country, reports the Guardian.
In a video address to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Zelensky called for a full oil embargo, the severing of Russian banks from the global financial system, the complete isolation of the Russian IT sector and a ban on trade with Russia.
New export routes
Zelensky said he was looking at alternative ways of getting Ukraine’s food out of the country after accusing Russia of stealing grain supplies ready for export.
Talks are under way with Poland to see if food could be shipped out of ports on the Baltic Sea, creating a corridor for exports such as wheat and sunflower oil, to prevent a food crisis for countries in Africa and Asia.