EP calls for embargo of Russian oil and gas

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The European Parliament has called for an immediate full embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas. In a resolution adopted this morning in Strasbourg, MEPs called for additional punitive measures as well as a plan to ensure the EU’s security of energy supply, as well as a strategy to “roll back sanctions in case Russia takes steps towards restoring Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and completely removes its troops from the territory of Ukraine”.

Existing sanctions must now be fully and effectively implemented throughout the EU and by the EU’s international allies as a matter of priority, MEPs have insisted.

They called on EU leaders to exclude Russia from the G20 and other multilateral organisations, such as UNHRC, Interpol, the World Trade Organisation, UNESCO and others, “which would be an important sign that the international community will not return to business as usual with the aggressor state”.

To make the sanctions more effective, the Parliament called for Russian banks to be excluded from the SWIFT system, for all vessels connected to Russia to be banned from entering EU territorial waters and docking at EU ports and for road freight transport from and to Russia and Belarus to be prohibited. MEPs also demand the seizure of “all assets belonging to Russian officials or the oligarchs associated with Putin’s regime, their proxies and strawmen, as well as those in Belarus linked to Lukashenka’s regime”.

Pointing to Belarus’ involvement in the war in Ukraine, the resolution demands that sanctions on Belarus mirror those introduced against Russia in order to close any loopholes allowing Putin to use Lukashenka’s aid to circumvent sanctions.

During a debate, MEPs referred to the shocking atrocities, “that undeniably amount to war crimes”, committed by Russian troops in Ukraine and particularly in Bucha, and the complete or almost complete destruction of Mariupol, Volnovakha and other cities and villages. They stressed that perpetrators of war crimes must be held accountable and call for a special UN tribunal for the crimes in Ukraine to be set up.

Parliament reiterated that deliveries of weapons must continue and be stepped up to allow Ukraine to effectively defend itself. MEPs support further defensive aid given to the Ukrainian armed forces individually by EU member states and collectively through the European Peace Facility.

Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament said they expected the final sanctions to be much stronger than yesterday’s proposal by the European Commission. “We must be ready to prepare a sixth package if necessary given the brutality of the recent attacks of the Russian army”, the group said in a statement.

Intervening in plenary, the president of the S&D Group, Iratxe García, said that “the fifth package of sanctions should prohibit the import of coal, oil and gas from Russia and include cutting off the Kremlin’s access to cryptocurrency exchanges, cracking down on oligarch enablers, and more aggressive action against Russian banks and energy giants. The war has taught us that there is no victory without unity and sacrifice, and only with unity and sacrifice between institutions, between governments and between political families will we achieve the end of the Putin regime.”

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