G-7 leaders commit to banning imports of oil from Russia

Oil barrels Source: iStock/Guven Polat

Leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialized countries pledged to ban the import of Russian oil in response to President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.  

The heads of the leading economies made the commitment after holding a video call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday, the eve of Russia’s May 9 Victory Day, which commemorates Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The date has become a touchstone of the Kremlin’s campaign to whip up public support for the invasion. 

Several G-7 countries have already pledged to diversify away from Russian supplies. The U.S. and U.K. have already announced bans on Russian oil imports and Germany, the European Union’s biggest economy, has backed a proposal for the EU to get rid of it by January. The pledge is also the furthest that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has gone in committing his country to halting Russian oil purchases.

The leaders will “commit to phase out our dependency on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil,” the G-7 statement says. “We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies.”

The G-7 leaders also said they would take measures to prohibit or otherwise prevent the provision of key services on which Russia depends. “This will reinforce Russia’s isolation across all sectors of its economy,” according to the statement. 

They are also set to work together with partners “to ensure stable and sustainable global energy supplies and affordable prices for consumers, including by accelerating reduction of our overall reliance on fossil fuels and our transition to clean energy in accordance with our climate objectives.”

The statement includes pledges to continue actions “against Russian banks connected to the global economy and systemically critical to the Russian financial system,” pursue efforts to fight Moscow’s propaganda, and “continue and elevate our campaign against the financial elites and family members” who support Putin.

The meeting comes as the EU struggles to agree on its own ban on Russian oil imports, with Hungary delaying a proposal that would phase out crude oil over the next six months and refined fuels by January. A ban on shipping Russian oil to third countries may also be delayed until G-7 countries commit to similar measures, according to people familiar with the matter.  

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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