Hungary stalled the EU’s latest sanctions package against Russia over objection to the sanctioning of Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Earlier this week, the EU agreed on principle on a new sanctions package that includes a Russian oil ban with exemptions for pipeline deliveries to Hungary and other land-locked nations.
EU officials met Wednesday night to finalize the deal and turn it into law, but Hungary insisted that the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill must be dropped. “Agreement is held up because Hungary is objecting to sanctions on Patriarch Kirill,” an EU diplomat said, according to Al Jazeera.
More talks were expected to be held later on Wednesday night, but as of early Thursday morning in Brussels, there has been no word of the EU agreeing on the finalized version of the sanctions package.
The EU’s planned Russian oil ban will prohibit deliveries from Russian ships. While it has exemptions for pipeline deliveries, EU officials said the ban will cut around 90% of the EU’s oil imports from Russia.
The sanctions are meant to hurt Russia, but as the EU has been preparing the ban, Moscow has been busy finding other markets and is now shipping more than twice the amount of oil it was before the invasion of Ukraine. More shipments have been going to China and India, and now Asia has surpassed Europe as the top buyer of Russian oil.