May 4 – The European Union’s chief executive proposed a phased oil embargo on Russia, as well as sanctions on its top bank and a ban on Russian broadcasters, in its toughest measures yet to punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine.
* Oil prices jumped as the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, outlined plans to phase out imports of Russian oil, offsetting demand worries in top importer China. The Kremlin said it was looking into various options in response.
* Germany said prices could go up considerably in response to the planned embargo on Russian oil.
* A Czech minister said the planned Russian oil ban did not include mechanisms for sharing the burden, describing this as a problem.
* An EU source told Reuters Hungary and Slovakia would be able to continue buying Russian crude oil until the end of 2023 under existing contracts.
* Hungary said it saw no plans or guarantees in the European Union’s oil sanctions proposals on how a transition period could be managed.
* Russian parliamentarian Vladimir Dzhabarov was quoted as saying Europe would continue buying Russian oil via third countries once it introduces an embargo.
* Russian oil exports, excluding to ex-soviet states, rose on average by 2% in first four weeks of April compared with March, a source told Reuters.
* Ukraine’s grain exports fell to around 923,000 tonnes in April from 2.8 million tonnes in the same month in 2021 due to the Russian invasion, analyst APK-Inform said.
* The armed forces of Belarus began sudden large-scale drills to test their combat readiness, the defence ministry of Ukraine’s neighbour said.
* Russia’s defence ministry said it had disabled six railway stations in Ukraine used to supply Ukrainian forces with Western-made weapons in the country’s east.
Two cruise missiles were fired at Ukraine from a submarine in the Black Sea, the ministry was quoted by Interfax as saying.
* Russia has deployed 22 battalion tactical groups near Ukraine’s eastern city of Izium in an apparent effort to capture the cities of Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk in the Donbas region, Britain said.
* Buses left Mariupol in a new attempt by Ukraine, the U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from the besieged city, the regional governor said. Reuters could not immediately verify reports of battlefield developments.
* The Kremlin dismissed speculation that Putin would declare war on Ukraine and announce a national mobilisation on May 9. Moscow describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation”.
* Russia’s foreign ministry announced sanctions against 63 Japanese officials, journalists and professors for engaging in what it called “unacceptable rhetoric” against Moscow.
* The European Union is considering more military support to Ukraine’s western neighbour Moldova, EU Council President Charles Michel said on a visit to Chisinau.
* “There is no chance of that. It’s nonsense,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked if Putin would declare war on Ukraine and announce a national mobilisation on May 9.
* “We are still studying it, but it is a problem for me,” Czech minister Sikela said of the planned EU ban on Russian oil.