Sam Fleming, Valentina Pop and Andy Bounds in Brussels and David Sheppard in London
EU leaders reached a deal at a summit on an oil embargo against Russia that exempts a key supply route – a concession aimed at appeasing Hungary that has blocked sanctions for nearly a month.
The embargo will include oil and petroleum products, but the key is to allow temporary exemptions for crude oil moving through pipelines, according to diplomats.
Governments have yet to agree on how long the breakup of oil supplied by pipeline will last. Keeping the pipeline free from any embargo has been a key requirement for Hungary, which has argued that a ban would put its economy at risk given its reliance on Russia’s Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline for crude.
On Monday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted on his way to a summit in Brussels that Budapest could still get Russian oil from other sources in the event of an “accident” in Druzhba, which passes through Ukraine.
The leaders of the Baltic states, which have been pushing for an oil embargo, have called on their leaders to unite for a deal.
Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said “how to go about this is up to everyone’s moral compass”, while her Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Kariņš asked Orbán to look at the big picture: “It will cost us more, but only money. Ukrainians are Pay the price with your life.”
Read more about EU plans to ban Russian oil here