Sam Fleming, Valentina Pop and Andy Bounds in Brussels, and David Sheppard in London
EU leaders at a summit struck a deal on an oil embargo against Russia that exempts a key supply route — a concession aimed at appeasing Hungary, which has been blocking the sanctions for nearly a month.
The embargo will include oil and petroleum products but will crucially allow a temporary exemption for crude delivered by pipeline, according to diplomats.
Capitals have not agreed how long any carve-out of oil supplied via pipeline would last. Keeping pipelines out of any embargo has been a key demand of Hungary, which has argued that a ban would put its economy at risk given its reliance on crude delivered by the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline from Russia.
On his way into the Brussels summit on Monday, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán insisted on guarantees that Budapest could still access Russian oil from other sources if there was an “accident” with Druzhba, which crosses Ukraine.
Baltic leaders, who have been pushing for an oil embargo, called for leaders to rally round a deal.
Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s prime minister, said it was “up to everybody’s moral compass how to proceed with this”, while Arturs Kariņš, her Latvian counterpart, asked Orbán to look at the big picture: “It’s going to cost us more, but it’s only money. The Ukrainians are paying with their lives.”
Read more about the EU’s Russian oil ban plan here