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More money for weapons but no Russian oil embargo at next EU meeting, says diplomat

More money for weapons but no Russian oil embargo at next EU meeting, says diplomat

European Union foreign ministers will not formally discuss an oil embargo on Russia at Monday’s meeting in Luxembourg, a senior EU diplomat involved in preparations said on Friday.

Still, foreign ministers are expected to approve a further €500 million of EU funding to supply arms to Ukraine, the diplomat said, taking the bloc’s security support to €1.5 billion since Russia’s February 24 military invasion.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had earlier said that banning oil imports from Russia would be discussed when ministers meet for the scheduled gathering, after the bloc moved to ban coal in a fifth package of sanctions this week. But “It won’t be on the table on Monday,” the diplomat said.

Lithuania as well as Ukraine itself are among the most vocal of EU member states in calling for a Russian oil embargo as the EU’s next step.

Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Hungary have so far resisted more discussion about banning Russian oil imports because of their dependency on the energy source. The EU diplomat said it was up to the European Commission, the EU executive, to decide when to come forward with a proposal. [Reuters]