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Julian Lee

Europe’s Ban on Russian Oil Has to Be Realistic

Bringing Russia’s oil exports to zero isn’t going to happen — and it wouldn’t be all that desirable either.

Be realistic.

Be realistic.

Photographer: Matthew Lloyd

The European Union is working toward a ban on imports of oil from Russia, as well as targeting the country’s wider trade through sanctions on shipping insurance. But it needs to realize that reducing Russia’s oil exports to zero is neither achievable nor desirable.

Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia are already threatening the bloc’s unity over a proposal to phase out imports of Russian crude over the next six months and purchases of refined products by the end of the year. They need to be taken seriously, even if their arguments aren’t accepted in full.