EU sanctions without oil ban would mean bloc unity 'broken': Ukraine

AFP , Friday 13 May 2022

Ukraine warned Friday that any omission of an embargo on Russian oil in the EU's next sanctions package would spell the end of the bloc's unity, calling it a "critical moment".

Dmytro Kuleba
Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, addresses the media during a statement in front of Weissenhaus Castle during the G7 Group of leading democratic economic powers at the Weissenhaus resort in Weissenhaeuser Strand, Germany, Friday, May 13, 2022. AP


"If this package is adopted without (an) oil embargo, I believe (Russia's) President Putin can celebrate because it will be the first case when the unity of the European Union will be broken because of the position of one country -- Hungary," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned.

With 65 percent of Hungary's oil coming from Russia, the country's President Viktor Orban has compared the planned sanctions package to an "atomic bomb" for its economy.

Brussels has proposed an exemption for Hungary until end-2023. But Budapest wants a five-year period to wean itself off Russian oil and says it will need a new pipeline with Croatia, which has access to the sea.

But Kyiv does not find Hungary's arguments convincing, Kuleba said.

"We see there is more politics than economic arguments behind Hungary's position," Kuleba said.

Urging the bloc to do everything to secure the ban, Kuleba said an opt-out by Hungary would "cause a lot of damage on the European Union itself and therefore they have to do their utmost to prevent it from happening".

"We do not interfere in their discussion but it's a critical moment when we will see whether EU unity will continue to exist or it will be broken," he warned.

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