EU leaders to weigh Russian oil embargo

  • European Union leaders are set to meet in Brussels to discuss a proposed sixth round of sanctions on Russia, including an oil embargo, but Hungarian opposition to the ban remains a possible stumbling block.
  • The governor of Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, says Russian forces have entered the city of Severodonetsk and warns of “fierce” fighting in the area as Moscow presses ahead with its offensive in the Donbas.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the EU leaders’ summit and implore heads of state to adopt further measures against Russia.
  • The Kremlin says a gas-for-roubles scheme adopted for sales of the energy source could be applied to Eurobonds as it faces increasing economic pressure.

    EU can reach ‘overall’ deal on Russian oil ban: Bulgarian PM

    EU member states should be able to reach an agreement on an import ban for Russian oil under certain conditions on Monday, Bulgaria’s prime minister has said, several hours before the start of a summit of EU leaders.

    “I think it will pass with certain derogations”, Kiril Petkov said about the bloc’s proposed embargo on Russian oil imports.

    “Overall it should pass, depending on some individual characteristics and criteria that member states may have,” he added.

    Moscow has set up ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians trying to escape Russia, Ukrainian official claims

    Ukrainians deported to Russia from Ukraine and now trying to leave the country to enter the EU are having to go through new “filtration camps,” a Ukrainian official has claimed.

    Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, especially men suspected of having served in the military, have reportedly had to go through such “filtration camps” in separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine before being allegedly forcibly sent to Russia.

    But new camps have now started operating near Russia’s border with Estonia, an EU member state, Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, said in a Telegram post.

    Andryushchenko, who has fled to Ukrainian-held territory, said Ukrainians who had passed through the new camps in Russia alleged the facilites made those in eastern Ukraine appear like a “child’s game” in comparison.“Those who are trying to escape from Russia – be vigilant. Use other escape routes, including through Belarus and Georgia,” he warned. There was no immediate reaction to Andryushchenko’s remarks from Moscow, and Al Jazeera could not independently verify his report.

    Estonian PM talks down prospect of agreement on Russia sanctions for now

    EU member states will probably not reach a full agreement on new sanctions against Russia today, Estonia’s Prime Minister has said.

    “I don’t think we’ll reach an agreement today”, Kaja Kallas said several hours before the start of the meeting. She added it was more likely a deal would be reached at the next summit in June.

    Russian woman detained for ‘bloody’ anti-war demonstration: Protest monitor

    A Russian woman who rallied against Moscow’s war in Ukraine was detained on Monday in Moscow, according to a protest monitoring group.

    Opposition activists Natalya Perova and Lyudmila Annenkova donned “blood-stained” white dresses as part of their demonstration against the offensive outside of the Russian foreign ministry building in central Moscow on Sunday, the OVD-Info group said in a Telegram post.

    Perova was detained on Monday, OVD-Info added.

    NATO support for Ukraine ‘unbreakable’: Spanish PM

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says NATO’s support for Ukraine is “unbreakable”.

    “Supporting Ukraine with determination is the only way to ensure that the Europe and the world we have built has a certain future,” Sanchez told an event marking Spain’s 40th anniversary as part of the alliance.

    The United States and other NATO allies have backed Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, with billions of dollars’ worth of weapons supplies during Russia’s offensive.

    Kremlin says gas-for-roubles scheme could be applied to Eurobonds

    A Russian gas-for-roubles scheme used with foreign purchasers has proved convenient both for buyers and sellers, the Kremlin has said.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s remarks came after Russia’s finance ministry proposed to apply a similar scheme to foreign holders of Russian Eurobonds.

    “The practice of paying for gas [in roubles] has shown its convenience for sellers and buyers. So why not use it [for Eurobonds]?” Peskov said during a conference call with reporters, adding that Moscow remained willing to honour its external debts.

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