European capitals have begun to consider a move that was previously off the table.
According to diplomats inside the bloc, support for a European Union-wide ban on Russian oil is being considered more seriously. It represents a dramatic shift on the region’s stance toward Russia.
About half of Russia’s crude oil exports go to Europe and Russia represents around 28% of the blocs overall imports. A ban would significantly impact European supplies and send a supply jolt across already tight global markets.
During a Monday meeting with the block’s foreign ministers in Brussels, the need for new sanctions was obvious.
“Looking at the extent of the destruction in Ukraine right now, it’s very hard in my view to make the case that we shouldn’t be moving into the energy sector—particularly oil and coal,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters on the way into the meeting.
Sweden, Ireland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which is one of the must Russian-oil-dependent countries in the EU, agreed a ban should at least be considered an option. Denmark and other countries said they would support a ban if a consensus agrees.
The US and UK have already banned Russian oil imports. Germany, head of the Group of Seven, has invited leaders to a summit in Brussels when President Joe Biden arrives.
“Through receiving energy from Russia we continue to provide funds to Russia. This must be stopped,” said Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok. “I expect an open discussion about that when President Biden comes.”