EU leaders on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of imposing sanctions on Russian gas in the next round of sanctions following a struggle to secure a water embargo on Moscow’s main oil exports.
The 27-nation bloc agreed at a summit on Monday a sixth package of sanctions that would see most Russian oil cut off, but supply pipelines were cut off, leaving Hungary stranded.
In the face of the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, weeks of oil squabbles have shaken European unity, and separating large economies like Germany from Russian gas is a difficult question.
“I think the gas should be in the seventh package but I am also a realist. I don’t think it will be there,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaza Calas said on the second day of the summit in Brussels.
Austrian Chancellor Carl Nehamar warned that “it was much easier to compensate for oil.”
“This is completely different in the case of gas. So there will be no problem with the post-gas embargo package,” he argued.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Cruz said the bloc “should stop now” before considering new sanctions.
“For gas, it’s more complicated. So it’s an important step. Let’s stop there for the moment, let’s see what the impact is,” he said.
With the European Union suspending its gas embargo, Russia’s state giant Gazprom has already begun cutting off European countries that have refused to pay for their gas in rubles.
On Monday, the Netherlands became the latest EU country to close the taps after Finland, Bulgaria and Poland cut off their supplies.
Other EU member states have agreed to the Kremlin’s demand for rubles to secure a flow of deliveries, which they say is vital to their economy.
But the refusal to cut huge sums of money daily to fill the Kremlin’s coffers has sparked criticism that the bloc is helping finance Moscow’s war machine.
Instead of sanctions, EU leaders on Tuesday discussed a massive investment package offered by Brussels that would help Europe free itself from Russian gas before the end of the decade.
“No one wants to buy power from Russia, a barbaric country, a country that cannot be relied on in any way. It has become not only a dishonest partner, but also a criminal state,” said Polish Prime Minister Mateus Morawiki.
“We are discussing not only how quickly Russian hydrocarbons can be removed from coal or oil, but in the long run, some member states, especially Germany and Austria, have also highlighted gas in the long run.”
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)