By Sabine Siebold and Ingrid Melander
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers disagreed on Monday on whether or not to apply and how to impose sanctions on Russia’s lucrative energy sector over its invasion of Ukraine, with Germany saying the bloc was too dependent on oil. Russian to decide an embargo.
The EU and its allies have already imposed a series of measures against Russia, including freezing its central bank’s assets.
Russia’s siege and bombing of the port of Mariupol, which EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called “an enormous war crime”, is increasing pressure for action.
But targeting Russian oil, as the United States and the United Kingdom have done, is a difficult choice for the 27-nation EU, which depends on Russia for 40% of its gas.
Some argued on Monday that the EU could no longer avoid this step.
“Looking at the extent of destruction in Ukraine right now, it’s very difficult to argue that we shouldn’t go into the energy sector, particularly oil and coal,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said ahead of a partners’ meeting, echoing comments from the Baltic countries.
But Germany and the Netherlands said the EU is dependent on Russian oil and gas and cannot switch off the next day.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott, Bart Meijer, John Irish, text by Ingrid Melander)
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