Humiliating Germany accused of ‘deliberately watering down’ EUs Russian oil ban

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EU sources speaking to the Daily Telegraph accused Berlin of hijacking talks in order to secure wider concessions with Russia which would benefit its own economy. On Friday, Berlin was accused of deliberately watering down the EU’s planned embargo on Russian oil. The EU sources told The Daily Telegraph Berlin wanted an exemption for deliveries via pipeline to be extended from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the entire bloc.

In their bid to unblock talks over the EU’s sixth package of sanctions against Moscow, officials from Berlin asked to only impose the embargo on sea shipments of Russian oil.

The news comes after EU countries tried to agree on a deal in time for the bloc’s leaders to endorse new sanctions at a summit early next week.

So far Hungary has been seen as the main holdout against the EU’s attempts to end imports of Russian oil by the end of the year.

Hungary, which is reliant on pipeline deliveries from Russia, has blocked the sixth package of sanctions.

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Hungarian leader Viktor Orban led the charge to block the sanctions as Budapest cannot easily get oil from elsewhere.

One EU official said: “It would be humiliating to remove the oil embargo part of the package completely only to push through the other elements.

“So the idea is to have an embargo on Russian oil and exempt the Russian Druzhba pipeline supplying Hungary only for some time, to give the European Commission and Hungary time to solve the problem.”

If the EU does ban seaborne imports of oil from Russia it will still have a significant effect as the majority of Russian oil comes to the bloc in this fashion.

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Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky savaged the EU divisions over its hesitancy to deliver a comprehensive set of sanctions.

He said: “How many more weeks will the European Union try to agree on a sixth package?

“Of course, I am grateful to those friends who are advocating new sanctions.

“But where do the people blocking this sixth package get their power from? Why are they allowed to hold such power?”

Referring to the sanctions, Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, raised further questions about how Germany was prepared to show its support for Ukraine.

On Friday in a tweet, he said: “Can violence be fought with violence?

“Can you only create peace without weapons?

“One thing is clear.

“We support Ukraine so that violence does not become the norm.”

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