Ukraine: EU embargo on Russian oil ‘within days,’ says Germany – live updates | DW | 24.05.2022

  • German economy minister expects EU embargo on Russian oil ‘within days’ 
  • Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says last week’s attack on Desna killed 87
  • Moscow says will focus on ties with China rather than West

This article was last updated at 00:49 UTC/GMT

Habeck: EU to ‘reach a breakthrough’ on Russian oil embargo

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said the European Union will likely “reach a breakthrough” on a ban on Russian oil imports “within days.”

Many EU member states are heavily reliant on Russian energy. The 27-member bloc had failed to reach a consensus on the embargo, mainly because of objection from Hungary. 

EU member states have different levels of dependence on Russian oil, Habeck told German broadcaster ZDF. “Between Hungary and Portugal, there is simply a different connection to Russia,” he said, adding that the EU should take Hungary’s position into consideration. 

Germany was initially opposed to the ban, but recently shifted its position amid pressure from Berlin’s allies. 

On Monday, Hungary clashed with EU states as it reiterated its demands for energy investment before it agreed to such an embargo.

The EU has offered up to €2 billion ($2.14 billion) to central and eastern European countries lacking non-Russian supply.

Still, Habeck stressed that an oil embargo “does not automatically lead” to Russian President Vladimir Putin being weakened. He went on to say that when Washington announced an embargo on Russian oil, prices soared worldwide and, therefore, Putin had “sold less oil and had more revenue in recent weeks.”

The German minister said the EU and the US were working in parallel on a proposal to cap global oil prices, though he cautioned this could only work if most of the world joined in.

Lavrov: Russia must cease dependence ‘in any way’ on the West 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would focus on developing its ties with Beijing rather than mend relations with the West. 

Lavrov claimed the West displayed “russophobia” since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation.”

“If they [the West] want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, then we will seriously consider whether we will need it or not,” Lavrov said, according to a transcript on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

“We must cease being dependent in any way on supplies of absolutely everything from the West for ensuring the development of critically important sectors for security, the economy or our homeland’s social sphere,” he said.

Zelenskyy: Desna attack killed 87

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke in his nightly video address about what could be one of the deadliest strikes of the war. He said last week’s Russian bombing of the town of Desna, 55 kilometers (34 miles) north of Kyiv, resulted in 87 deaths. 

Zelenskyy said Russia was waging “total war” on his country, claiming that Russian forces launched 1,474 missile strikes on Ukraine since the invasion started on February 24, using 2,275 different missiles.

According to the Ukrainian leader, the majority of these strikes hit civilian targets. 

He made his remarks in his regular nightly address on Monday, marking the end of the third month of the war. 

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia conflict on Monday

After a trial lasting only four days, a court in Ukraine sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison for the murder of an unarmed civilian.

It is the first war crimes trial in Ukraine in light of the conflict. The defendant pleaded guilty on opening day, his Ukrainian-provided lawyer had argued for acquittal on the basis that the soldier said he was following orders. 

In another first, Boris Bondarev, Russia’s Counsellor to the UN in Geneva, resigned from his post. He cited his disagreement with the war, marking a rare political resignation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “maximum” sanctions, including an oil embargo, against Russia in a video address to world leaders and executives at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. 

The summit would typically have a “Russia House” dedicated to showcasing Russian business leaders and investors, but this year the space was transformed by Ukrainian artists into a “Russian War Crimes House”. Russia denies allegations of war crimes in the conflict.

Kyiv can expect further military assistance, as Washington announced some 20 US allies were ready to provide more aid to Ukraine.

In Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk region, the several hundred Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol will be tried, the region’s Russian-backed leader Denis Pushilin said.

The UN’s refugee agency said the war has displaced 8 million people internally within Ukraine, and another 6 million have been registered as having left Ukraine.

fb/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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