European Union countries should ban Russian oil imports in the next six months, and all refined oil products by the end of the year, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told the European Parliament on Wednesday morning as she unveiled the bloc’s new package of measures against Russia.
The crude ban and other measures will be presented in detail to E.U. ambassadors Wednesday and are expected to be adopted by the end of the week.
“Let us be clear, it will not be easy,” Ms. von der Leyen told European deputies at the parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg, France. “Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it.”
Her announcement was greeted with applause by the members of Parliament, reflecting the broad consensus that the measure, while difficult to take and potentially economically painful for Europeans, has been long anticipated as necessary to start depriving President Vladimir V. Putin of cash needed to fund the war.
E.U. diplomats who have seen the sanctions documents said that Hungary and Slovakia, two members with outsize dependence on Russian oil imports, would be given until December 2023 to ban the fuel.
The diplomats also said the proposal will include sanctions against the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, in a highly symbolic move that will target him for supporting Mr. Putin’s invasion’s of Ukraine.
Ms. von der Leyen said that the bloc of 27 countries will also impose sanctions on Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank.