The European Union has decided to further restrict Russian oil imports due to the invasion of Ukraine. Ursula Von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, said that the move will “effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia” by the end of this year.

The new round of sanctions is the sixth one proposed by the European Union so far since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, 2022.

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Why wasn’t there a complete ban?

The reason why European Union did not cut off oil export from Russia is multifold. It includes European trade routes, the bloc’s unanimous voting policy and even geography.

The European Union, in its new sanctions rollout, decided to restrict oil brought in from Russia through the sea. The group had to particularly include a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline.

Hungary, a landlocked state in the European Union, did not agree to vote in favour of the new sanctions if the exemption was not codified. The European Union needed a unanimous vote for such regulations to pass.

Hungary relies heavily on Russia for energy and can’t afford to turn off the pumps. In addition to its need for Russian oil, Hungary gets 85% of its natural gas from Russia, Associated Press reported.

Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, had announced his intentions when the European Union had just started negotiating on the new package. Orban clarified that Hungary would only vote in favour of the sixth set of sanctions if oil supply security would be ensured.

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Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, responded to the EU’s decision on Twitter, saying: “As she rightly said yesterday, Russia will find other importers.”