The European Union pushed toward adopting a Russian oil embargo this weekend, with leaders expected to vote this week on a plan to phase out all Russian crude imports by the end of 2022.

New momentum for the ban comes after Russian gas giant Gazprom cut Poland and Bulgaria off from its supply last week for refusing to pay in rubles, increasing pressure on the United States to increase its exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe.

The plan is currently being drafted by the European Commission, with a finalized version expected as early as Tuesday. From there, it will be circulated to EU member states, whose leaders are slated to gather Wednesday to discuss the new measures.

The news comes just days after Germany, the bloc’s economic powerhouse and largest importer of Russian crude, lifted its opposition to the embargo late last week, paving the way for the EU to take more punishing action against Russia.

“We are also pushing within the EU to now phase out oil together as Europe in the EU’s sixth sanctions package,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday in an interview with local broadcaster ARD.

The oil embargo is expected to be the linchpin of the EU’s sixth round of sanctions on Russia in response to its war in Ukraine. Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters the EU has been working “intensively” on crafting its latest sanctions package, which she said will likely include additional penalties on Russian individuals and banks.

EU leaders are also weighing ways to soften the blow for Hungary and Slovakia, which remain deeply dependent on Russian oil.

Those efforts include granting the two nations some form of exception or a longer period to transition to alternative suppliers. Success with both countries is critical if the EU hopes to pass its embargo.


Senior Hungarian officials warned Sunday that they stood ready to veto any sanctions package that sought to ban Russian energy imports.

“Since such decisions require unanimity, it makes no sense for the commission to propose sanctions affecting natural gas and crude oil that would restrict Hungarian procurements,” Hungarian Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas said in an interview with local broadcast station HirTV.

Hours later, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs rebutted a report saying they had lifted their veto threat, writing on Facebook that Hungary’s position “hasn’t changed, we don’t support it.”

It’s unclear if subsequent assurances from EU leaders have softened Hungary’s stance.

Since 27 EU member states must vote to approve the embargo, some leaders have sought to tamp down expectations on the timeline, cautioning that any draft embargo will likely require some finessing among EU nations before it is ready to be put forward for a vote.

Earlier this morning, German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said there is “still no unity” on an oil ban within the bloc.

“I don’t know whether an oil embargo is imminent,” he told reporters. “I hear different things and talk to my colleagues about different options. Other countries are not that far along, and I think you have to respect that.”

Oil and gas revenues accounted for 45% of Russia’s federal government budget in 2021, according to figures from the International Energy Agency.

Meanwhile, all 27 EU energy ministers convened in Brussels Monday for crisis talks after Russia abruptly suspended its gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Poland, making good on Vladimir Putin’s threat to cut off its supply to any “unfriendly nations” that refused to pay in rubles.


Energy ministers are hoping to draft clearer guidance on whether state-owned companies can keep buying the Russian fuel without breaching the EU's sanctions. Ministers are also discussing ways to secure alternative gas supplies and bolster its storage before winter, Reuters reports.