EU Fails to Agree on Russian Oil Import Ban

The European Union (EU) was unable this week to achieve consensus among its member nations this week regarding banning Russian oil imports.

In order for the EU to implement sanctions as a single body, all 27 member states must agree to enforce the proposed sanctions inside their own borders. The EU was reportedly unable to achieve unanimity while meeting in Brussels to discuss cutting off all imports of Russian oil in order to present Vladimir Putin with additional economic pressure.

The strongest resistance to the proposed EU sanctions reportedly came from the Hungarian delegation. Hungary and Germany have typically been the nations least agreeable with restricting Russian oil imports, as they are both heavily dependent on it for their respective energy needs.

The EU is collectively the largest consumer in the world of Russian crude oil. Around two-thirds of EU oil imports in 2019 came from Russia.

Although the group could not reach an agreement on banning Russian oil, the EU appears to remain unified against Putin’s government as its invasion of neighboring Ukraine continues.

The EU has previously approved five sets of sanctions against Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine. U.S. intelligence officials had warned that this week’s failure to ban oil imports could signal that Russia is wearing down the resolve of Western nations to impose economic penalties. It is clear, however, that a total ban on Russian oil would have led to significant hardships for people throughout the EU.

Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines said that Russia likely believes that it has a greater ability to wait out economic challenges than the West. Haines added that Putin is relying on the EU and the U.S. to weaken as inflation and food supply shortages worsen.

Haines went on to say that Putin is likely to continue the invasion in order to claim additional territory along Ukraine’s coastline on the Black Sea. If so, the invasion would be likely to continue even after Russia achieved its initially stated goals of retaking control of the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 368-57 on Tuesday to send an additional $40 billion in aid to Ukraine. The package is designed to be divided between defense spending and humanitarian programs. The package was delayed in the Senate on Thursday through the efforts of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).