EU agrees on price cap for Russian oil over Ukraine war

BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union countries on Wednesday agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil and other new sanctions after Moscow illegally annexed four regions in Ukraine amid its months-long war, EU officials said.

Diplomats in Brussels struck the deal, which also includes restrictions on EU exports of aircraft components to Russia and limits on steel imports from the country, according to an official statement from the Czech rotating EU presidency.

The 27-nation bloc will impose a ban on transporting Russian oil by sea to other countries above the price cap the Group of Seven Wealthy Democracies wants to introduce until December 5, when an EU embargo on most Russian oil comes into effect. A concrete price for the future cap has yet to be determined.

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Agreement on the price cap was not easy to reach as several EU countries feared it would hurt their shipping industry. Further details on the sanctions will be published on Thursday.

The new sanctions package was proposed last week by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen amid heightened security concerns over nuclear threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin and its annexation of parts of Ukraine.

“We acted quickly and decisively,” von der Leyen welcomed the deal. “We will not accept Putin’s sham referendums or any kind of annexation in Ukraine. We are determined to keep asking the Kremlin to pay.”

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The new sanctions also include an “enhanced import ban” on goods such as steel products, pulp, paper, machinery and equipment, chemicals, plastic and cigarettes, the Czech presidency said.

A ban on the provision of IT, engineering and legal services to Russian companies also comes into force.

The package, which will also include new sanctions evasion criteria, builds on already unprecedented European sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in February.

EU measures so far include restrictions on energy from Russia, bans on financial transactions with Russian entities, including the central bank, and asset freezes against more than 1,000 people and 100 entities.

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The 27-nation bloc has already agreed to ban Russian oil coming by sea, no pipeline, but some member countries still need Russian supplies at low prices. Hungary, which has questioned the efficiency of previous measures and previously said it could not support further energy sanctions, said exemptions had been granted to any new steps that would have jeopardized its energy security.

The EU’s planned ban on most Russian oil products could force Russia to cut prices to find new customers. OPEC’s oil-producing countries meet on Wednesday to discuss cutting output to boost oil priceswhich would help Russia.

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Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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