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Opinion
Javier Blas

Europe Goes for the Knockout on Russian Oil

The EU’s proposed secondary sanctions would hinder Putin’s efforts to find new markets for his crude

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

Photographer: picture alliance/picture alliance

Former world heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson says he learned the key to delivering a knockout blow from his mentor Cus D'Amato: “The art of punching is when you can throw two punches that sound like one.”

The European Union, seeking to replicate Tyson’s technique against Russia’s oil industry, is throwing a two-punch combination and hoping for an economic knockout.

After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday announced a proposed new sanctions package, the headlines largely focused on its ban against imports of Russian crude and refined petroleum products. That’s the first, expected punch. But there’s a second, simultaneous blow – the real knockout. Brussels also wants to prevent Russia from using companies based in the EU to sell its oil to third countries, such as India and China. And it’s a rather wide ban: