EU bans most imports of Russian oil as Kyiv and Moscow battle in Luhansk


KYIV/LVIV: EU leaders agreed on Monday to ban most imports of Russian oil to the 27-nation bloc as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk, the final metropolis nonetheless held by Kyiv in Ukraine`s strategic Luhansk province. European Council President Charles Michel mentioned on Twitter the ban, agreed at an EU summit in Brussels, would instantly cowl greater than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia “slicing an enormous supply of financing for its battle machine.”

EU leaders assembly in Brussels additionally agreed to chop off the biggest Russian financial institution, Sberbank, from the SWIFT system and to ban three extra Russian state-owned broadcasters, Michel added.

The leaders mentioned they’d agreed to chop 90% of oil imports from Russia by the tip of this yr, resolving an deadlock over the bloc`s hardest sanction but on Moscow for the reason that invasion of Ukraine three months in the past.

They agreed that the oil embargo would come with exemptions for Hungary – a landlocked nation that depends closely on crude piped from Russia and which had been the primary impediment to a deal – and others involved in regards to the financial influence of the transfer.

Situation remained ‘extraordinarily tough’ in Donbas

Shortly earlier than the announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mentioned the state of affairs remained “extraordinarily tough” in the Donbas area, the place Russia has focus of its army effort after failing to seize Ukraine`s capital, Kyiv, in March.

Zelenskiy had known as the EU too tender on Moscow when it appeared leaders wouldn’t attain an settlement on the oil ban.

Russia has been in search of to grab all the Donbas area, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk, one other province Moscow claims on behalf of separatist proxies.

Capturing Sievierodonetsk and its twin metropolis Lysychansk on the alternative financial institution of the Siverskyi Donets river would give Moscow efficient management of Luhansk and enable the Kremlin to declare some type of victory after greater than three months of demise and destruction in Ukraine.

But by specializing in a battle for the only small metropolis, Russia may depart different territories open to Ukrainian counterstrikes.

In his nightly deal with, Zelenskiy mentioned the Donbas state of affairs “stays extraordinarily tough” and mentioned the Russian military was “making an attempt to collect a superior power to place extra and extra strain on our defenders.”

“The Russian military has now gathered there the utmost fight energy,” he mentioned of Donbas as an entire.

Russia able to facilitate unhindered grain exports from Ukraine

The Kremlin mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin, in talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, mentioned Russia was able to facilitate unhindered grain exports from Ukrainian ports in coordination with Turkey.

Western leaders have chided Russia for blockading Ukrainian ports, sending costs of grain and different commodities hovering. The United Nations has mentioned a world meals disaster is deepening and has been making an attempt to dealer a deal to unblock Ukraine`s grain exports.

“Emphasis was positioned on making certain protected navigation in the Black and Azov seas and eliminating the mine menace in their waters,” the Kremlin mentioned of Putin`s name with Erdogan.

Putin mentioned if sanctions had been lifted, Russia may export vital volumes of fertilizers and agricultural merchandise.

Zelenskiy additionally spoke with Erdogan and mentioned they mentioned meals safety and defence cooperation, “and, of course, how you can speed up the tip of this battle.”


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