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Opinion
Julian Lee

Sanctions Haven’t Made Clear What Counts as ‘Russian Oil’

Is diesel produced from Russian crude that’s refined elsewhere still Russian? Europe needs to define what it’s actually prohibiting.

Even a partial halt to Russia’s oil shipments is worthwhile.

Even a partial halt to Russia’s oil shipments is worthwhile.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

European Union sanctions on Russian oil are inching closer, with Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, saying that it won’t oppose an embargo. But what is actually considered “Russian oil”?

Putting restrictions on Russian crude is one thing. Trying to stop the sale of Russian refined products is much more complicated, in part because it’s not clear what can, or should be, included.