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Russia-Ukraine live updates: EU leader proposes import ban on Russian oil

ANDREY BORODULIN/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Ukrainian troops have offered “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The Russian military last month launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, attempting to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol and to secure a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 04, 5:19 am
EU leader proposes import ban on Russian oil

The European Union’s top official called on the 27-nation bloc on Wednesday to gradually ban oil imports from Russia as part of a sixth set of sanctions against Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed that member nations “phase out” imports of Russian crude oil within six months and refined oil products from Russia by the end of the year. She also recommended sanctions targeting Russia’s biggest bank and major broadcasters.

“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimizes the impact on global markets,” von der Leyen said. “Thus, we maximise pressure on Russia, while at the same time minimising collateral damage to us and our partners around the globe. Because to help Ukraine, our own economy has to remain strong.”

The proposals must be unanimously approved to take effect. Von der Leyen admitted that getting all 27 member countries to agree on oil sanctions “will not be easy.” Hungary and Slovakia, both of which are highly dependent on Russian energy, have already demanded exemptions.

“Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it,” she said. “We now propose a ban on Russian oil. This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined.”

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