By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
The European Union needs to cut off financing for the Russian war in Ukraine by introducing sanctions on oil exports, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.
Simon Coveney is in Luxembourg for a meeting of the EU foreign affairs council, where further sanctions against Moscow will be discussed.
Speaking as he arrived for the meeting, Mr Coveney said the EU is spending hundreds of millions of euros on Russian oil and work is under way to ensure oil is part of its next sanctions package.
He said: “Ireland has maintained for quite some time that we need to take a maximalist approach to sanctions to offer the strongest deterrent to the continuation of this war and brutality.
“That should include, in our view, oil.
“We know that is very difficult for some member states and we have to keep a united position across the EU.
“We now have coal as part of the sanctions package. We know that the Commission is working on a future package that we hope we can see soon that will involve oil as well.
“The European Union is spending hundreds of millions of euros importing oil from Russia. That is certainly contributing to financing this war.
“In our view we need to cut off that financing of war even though it creates huge challenges and problems for the EU to solve together.
“We will see what the Commission says. They are now working on ensuring that oil is part of the next sanctions package. We believe the sooner that can happen the better.”
EU foreign ministers are expected to take stock of EU support to Ukraine and discuss the geopolitical impact of the war on the wider region.
They will also meet the foreign ministers of Iceland and Norway on co-ordination in response to the war and will hold an informal exchange with International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan and Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova.