Hungary is exempt from EU’s plan to block Russian pipeline oil.
Now that Russia has Mariupol we turn our attention to Severodonetsk. The Russians moved closer to the city’s center, splitting the city in half.
Russia Will Give Ukraine the Bodies at Mariupol Steel Plant
Russia will hand over the bodies it has kept in fridge units at the Azovstal steel plant:
Russia has said bodies found “inside a cooling unit” in tunnels underneath the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol will be handed over to Ukraine.
Russia’s defence ministry said its troops found “152 bodies of dead militants and servicemen of Ukraine’s armed forces” at the steelworks – adding that “four mines” were found underneath the bodies, the AFP news agency reports.
Russian forces took control of the port city in April, but thousands of Ukrainian defenders remained at the steel plant, protecting Ukraine’s last foothold in Mariupol.
They finally surrended earlier this month and have been taken to Russian-occupied territory, where they remain. Russia has indicated that they will be put on trial.
Embargo Hikes Up Oil Prices
Brent crude rose above $123 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest it’s been for two months.
Prices for oil and gas have soared in recent months, fuelled – in part – by the Ukraine war. Brent crude has risen more than 70% over the past year.
Russia currently supplies 27% of the EU’s imported oil and 40% of its gas, and oil prices climbed again on news of the latest EU embargo.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said prices were rising because European countries now need to find alternative sources of supply.
Meanwhile, the rising cost of living threatens to curtail some EU countries’ appetite for further sanctions which could also hurt their own economies.
EU Compromise Does Not Include Gas
The EU wants to block Russian pipeline oil. The embargo does not include Russian gas. The bloc would face resistance from Austria if it decides to go after the gas:
The European Union would not discuss a gas embargo as part of a next round of sanctions against Russia for waging a war against Ukraine, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said.
“The gas embargo will not be a topic, (German Chancellor) Olaf Scholz has made this clear as well,” he told reporters on a second day of talks at a summit in Brussels of the 27 national EU leaders.
“Russian oil is much easier to compensate … gas is completely different, which is why a gas embargo will not be an issue in the next sanctions package,” he added after the leaders agreed to cut most Russian oil imports to the bloc.
EU Agrees to “Block Most Russian Oil Imports by the End of 2022”
Except for pipeline oil because Hungary opposed it:
The EU-wide ban will affect oil that arrives by sea – around two-thirds of imports – but not pipeline oil, following opposition from Hungary.
Poland and Germany have also pledged to end pipeline imports, meaning a total of 90% of Russian oil will be blocked.
European Council chief Charles Michel said the deal cut off a huge source of financing for the Russian war machine.
It is part of a sixth package of sanctions approved at a summit in Brussels, which all 27 member states have had to agree on.
Russia currently supplies 27% of the EU’s imported oil and 40% of its gas. The EU pays Russia around €400bn ($430bn, £341bn) a year in return.
Hungary Exempt From EU Ban on Russian Oik
Hungary depends a lot on Russian energy sources. Prime Minister Viktor Orban is also close to Putin.
The EU managed to get an almost complete ban on Russian oil:
After weeks of negotiations between EU and Budapest, bloc leaders late Monday struck a compromise deal that banned Russian oil imports delivered by tankers, but left in place those received via pipelines – which is how landlocked Hungary gets the Russian crude key to its economy.
“Families can sleep peacefully tonight, we kept out the most hair-raising idea,” Mr Orban said in a video message posted on his Facebook page.
“We have reached an agreement that states that countries that receive oil through pipelines can continue to operate their economies under the previous conditions,” he said.
Mr Orban had threatened to veto the deal and warned that halting supplies would wreck his country’s economy.
A blanket import ban “would have been unbearable for us…like an atomic bomb, but we managed to avoid this,” said Mr Orban.
Russia captured half of Severodonetsk as the soldiers move closer to the city center. If Russia takes over the entire city then it won’t have much more territory to grab to control the entire Luhansk region:
Russian troops have taken control of half of the city of Severodonetsk, the city’s mayor Oleksandr Striuk has said.
“Half of the city has been captured by the Russians and fierce street fighting is under way,” Mr Striuk said. “The situation is very serious and the city is essentially being destroyed ruthlessly block by block.”
As Kremlin forces advance towards to city centre, Sergiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk region, told Ukrainian state television that there were some 15,000 civilians left in Severodonetsk, as most of the city’s 120,000 people had fled the brutal bombardment by Russian artillery.
Preparing for the worst, Mr Gadai said Ukrainian troops defending the city could retreat across the Siverskyi Donets river to the city of Lysychansk to escape encirclement.
Russia has been seeking to seize the entire Donbas, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk which Moscow claims on behalf of separatist proxies.
Capturing the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk would give Moscow effective control of Luhansk and allow the Kremlin to declare some form of victory after more than three months of war.
Unfortunately, Ukraine cannot evacuate Severodonetsk civilians right now due to the fighting.
It’s taken Russia a lot longer to take Severodonetsk than officials thought but it looks like it will happen.DONATE
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