The Council of the European Union on Friday adopted the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including an embargo on seaborne oil imports, with exemptions for pipeline imports for landlocked countries.
The new regulation is expected to be published in the official journal of the European Union and thus enter into force.
The most important part of the sixth package of restrictive measures concern an embargo on seaborne imports of Russian crude oil, but the measure enters into force in six months, and for refined products in eight months.
The Commission put forward the package a month ago and the adoption has been blocked for weeks due to Hungary’s opposition. In the end, other member states gave in, and Hungary can continue importing cheap Russian oil.
Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary will still be able to import oil through the Druzhba pipeline. At Hungary’s insistence, landlocked countries will be allowed to import Russian oil by tanker should something happen to the Druzhba pipeline.
The regulation does not specify how long the exemption from the ban on pipeline imports will apply.
Also at Hungary’s insistence, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, was removed from the list of sanctioned persons. The patriarch is considered a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is one of the main supporters of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
Hungary, however, did not manage to secure an exemption on exporting crude oil or refined products to other EU member states.
Due to its specific geographical position, Bulgaria will be allowed to import Russian oil until the end of 2024.
Croatia was also granted an exemption and will be able to continue to obtain vacuum gas oil for the Rijeka refinery until the end of 2023 on the condition it does not have an alternative from other sources.
Also, a ban on insurance was introduced for EU-flagged vessels in order to hinder the export of Russian oil to third countries, since many ports do not allow tankers without insurance to dock.
Those tankers will have to seek insurance outside the EU. A proposed ban on EU vessels transporting Russian oil was dropped.
The sixth package of sanctions includes a ban on exporting chemicals that can be used to produce chemical weapons to Russia.
Individuals responsible for the atrocities committed in Bucha and Mariupol were added to the list of sanctioned persons.
Due to disinformation campaigns and Russian propaganda, three Russian media outlets are banned from broadcasting in the EU.