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European Union fails to implement Russian oil embargo despite overall unified opposition to Russia

The European Union was unable to reach a consensus on banning the import of Russian oil into member nations.

The New York Times reported the member nations of the European Union were unable to reach a unanimous decision in Brussels to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin by cutting off imports of Russian oil.

Reportedly, the diplomatic envoy from Hungary put up the most resistance to the proposed ban on Russian oil imports.

In order for the European Union to implement sanctions, as an institution, all 27 of its member states must agree to enforce them in their respective nations. Historically, countries like Hungary and Germany have been hesitant to issue restrictions on oil imports from Russia due to their nations’ dependence on it. Currently, the European Union is the single largest consumer of crude oil and fuel from Russia. In 2019, almost two-thirds of the European Union’s crude oil imports came from Russia.

Despite the roadblock in banning the import of Russian oil, the European Union member states appear to be solidly unified against Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.

The European Union has already approved five sanctions packages against Russia. This latest package and its subsequent failure to pass underscore what U.S. intelligence officials have warned that the leadership of Russia is counting on: weakening Western resolve as the conflict drags on. That said, this recent round of sanctions would have caused considerable economic distress for the people of the countries implementing the sanctions.

The U.S. director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haines, said, “Putin most likely also judges that Russia has a greater ability and willingness to endure challenges than his adversaries, and he is probably counting on U.S. and E.U. resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation, and energy prices get worse.”

Haines delivered these remarks as Russia appeared to be nearing the fulfillment of one its stated goals of the invasion: taking control of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. However, Haines suggested that taking control of Donbas and other regions in eastern Ukraine is likely neither to satisfy Putin nor bring the war to a close. Haines suggested that Putin likely wants to claim territory that stretches across Ukraine’s Black Sea coast but that this goal will take much longer to achieve.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send Ukraine $40 billion in aid.

PBS reported that the massive spending package was passed 368-57 and splits the money evenly between defense spending for Ukraine and humanitarian programs.