France’s Le Maire urges EU to prioritize Russian oil ban over gas – POLITICO

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday urged the EU to prioritize a Russian oil embargo over a gas ban, but acknowledged that not all countries in the bloc were happy with the move.

“We are trying to persuade our European partners to stop importing oil from Russia,” Le Maire told France’s Radio Europe 1 [Russian President] Vladimir Putin for several years? It’s not natural gas. It’s oil.”

The comments came as Russia launched a renewed offensive in Ukraine on Monday, which Kyiv said is part of a plan to seize the country’s entire eastern Donbass region.

Le Maire said the renewed attacks had increased the urgency of weaning Europe from its dependence on Russian energy, while admitting that some EU countries, which he did not name, were not ready to do so.

“We know very well that we are not here today, not because France does not want it, but because some European partners are still hesitating,” said Le Maire, referring to an EU ban on Russian oil.

While Le Maire did not specify which “European partners” stood in the way, Germany is known to be resistant to a Russian oil embargo. Le Maire made a similar call earlier this month.

Western leaders including US President Joe Biden, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council Chair Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Poland’s, Romania’s and Canada’s are expected to hold a video conference this afternoon to discuss the situation in Ukraine. France's Le Maire urges EU to prioritize Russian oil ban over gas - POLITICO

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