Moscow calls EU move to phase out Russian oil ‘self-destructive’

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Russia warned on Thursday that the European Union’s decision to partially phase out Russian oil was likely to destabilize global energy markets, calling it a ‘self-destructive’ step that could backfire on the bloc.

EU leaders agreed in principle on Monday to cut 90 percent of oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, the bloc’s toughest sanctions since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

“The European Union’s decisions to partially phase out Russian oil and oil products, as well as to ban insurance on Russian merchant ships, are highly likely to provoke further price increases, destabilize energy markets, and disrupt supply chains,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The 27-country EU has hit Russia with multiple rounds of sanctions since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February, demonstrating uncharacteristic speed and unity given the complexity of the measures.

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The Kremlin said on Thursday that the oil sanctions would hurt global oil flows and destabilize the world’s energy market.

“But, of course, Russia will not sell anything at a loss. If somewhere demand is falling that means that in another place it is increasing - the flows are re-routed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told his daily conference call with reporters.

European Council President Charles Michel said the move to phase out Russian oil would deprive Moscow of a huge source of financing and put pressure on it to end its military campaign, but Moscow warned that the measures would end up harming the EU’s economy.

“Brussels and its political sponsors in Washington bear full responsibility for the risk of an exacerbation in global food and energy issues caused by the illegitimate actions of the European Union,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

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