Russian oil ban: Putin must pay a high price for his brutal aggression

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In its sixth set of sanctions, the bloc also cracked down on Russia’s military and TV.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “It will not be easy but we simply have to do it. Putin must pay a price, a high price, for his brutal aggression.”

And new British sanctions announced by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will see Russian businesses cut off from UK accountancy, management consultancy and PR sectors.

Ministers said Russia is “heavily reliant” on services in Western countries and cutting off that link will account for 10 percent of Russian imports in those sectors.

The Government also announced 63 new sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes for individuals linked to Russian broadcasters and newspapers, as well as restrictions against media organisations.

Ms Truss said: “Doing business with Putin’s regime is morally bankrupt and helps fund a war machine that is causing untold suffering across Ukraine. Cutting Russia’s access to British services will put more pressure on the Kremlin and ultimately help ensure Putin fails in Ukraine.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: “Our professional services exports are extraordinarily valuable to many countries, which is why we’re locking Russia out. By restricting Russia’s access to our world-class management consultants, accountants and PR firms, we’re ratcheting up economic pressure on the Kremlin to change course.”

Those sanctioned in the UK yesterday included employees of Channel One, a state outlet in Russia, which had described the invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation”.

Russia branded both the UK and EU announcements “crazy” and claimed Europe would still buy Russian oil through third parties.

Critics said the action was too little too late and crucially did not include an EU ban on gas imports.

The West buys more than half of its crude and petroleum products from Russia. Ms von der Leyen said details would be agreed soon.

But the headline move would see an end to Europe’s dependency on Russian oil.

The plan, if rubber-stamped by EU governments as is expected, would be a watershed for the world’s largest trading bloc, which has been dependent on Russian energy.

Countries would have to find alternative supplies, such as from the Middle East and America – a move many are already now busily pursuing. Crude oil will be phased out in six months and refined products by the end of 2022, she explained.

Ms von der Leyen pledged to minimise the impact on European economies. Europe has been paying Moscow a quarter of a billion dollars per day for oil, helping to finance its carnage.

The announcement saw the price of Brent crude rise by around three percent to more than $108 a barrel in early trade.

The United States and Britain have already imposed bans to cut one of the largest income streams to the Russian economy. Ms von der Leyen said Putin wanted to wipe Ukraine from the map but instead it would be his country that would be sinking.

She said: “We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion.

“That allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimise the impact on the global market.”

Two heavily dependent EU countries, Hungary and Slovakia, could be given until 2022-23 to fall in line with the oil ban. There is no consensus among the EU members on winding down use of Russian natural gas.

The EU is also planning financial help as Ukraine’s economic output was set to fall by 35-50 percent this year. It would need more than £4billion a month just to keep going.

Also sanctioned are high-ranking Russian officers who committed war crimes in Bucha and Mariupol. Ms von der Leyen said: “We know who you are, you will not get away with this.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s largest bank Sberbank will be removed from SWIFT – the international payment system that allows rapid transfer of money across borders.

And three big state-owned Russian broadcasters are to be axed from cable, satellite and the web as the EU labelled them “mouthpieces that amplify Putin’s lies”.

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