March 25, 2023

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Zelensky wants to ban religious groups with Moscow links: live updates

Zelensky wants to ban religious groups with Moscow links: live updates

attributed to him…Olesya Astakhova/Reuters

BRUSSELS – European Union ambassadors trying to reach an agreement on the highest price for Russian oil continued their talks into Thursday evening, despite expectations that a deal is within reach.

Negotiations over capping prices for Russian oil sales, a policy led by the Group of Seven industrialized nations and other close allies of Ukraine, have dragged on for more than a week at European Union headquarters.

Negotiators from the 27 EU member states need to agree on a price by consensus. A number of diplomats and officials said the latest discussions were about a price point of $60 a barrel. That’s less than the G7 originally proposed, a victory for hardline pro-Ukrainian countries like Poland that wanted a lower price to limit Russia’s oil revenues.

An almost complete embargo on Russian oil came into force on December 5 in the European Union. European Union insurers and tankers – which make up half the global fleet – will not be allowed to offer their services to transport Russian oil. This would not apply to buyers of Russian oil, such as China and India, if they shipped and insured the goods with companies from countries outside the cap-charging group.

Fearing a global oil crisis, the United States advocated a price cap policy, which would allow European tankers and insurers to continue facilitating Russian oil exports as long as the oil they transport or insure sells at or below the set price.

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The benefit of this approach, according to its promoters, is that Russia loses some revenue as it is capped below what its oil would normally fetch on the market, but it has an incentive to continue selling its crude because the price is still high enough to generate vital income. A cap would also prevent the price of Russian oil from rising above a certain point if world prices rose.

The price of Russian oil, also known as Urals crude, has been hovering between $60 and $65 a barrel over the past week, and is trading at a significant discount to other types of oil.

Poland and a few allies were the last bastions in the EU negotiations. They have been pushing for the lowest possible price to curb oil revenues that help fund the war in Ukraine, as well as frequent price revisions and more sanctions against Russia.

By Thursday evening, those points were apparently secured and EU diplomats entered what they hoped would be the last round of talks before a deal was sealed. But several EU diplomats and officials said Poland had asked for the extension.

Wali Ademo, the US deputy secretary of the Treasury, said on Thursday that he was encouraged by signs that the European Union is uniting around a rate. “My point is we will get this deal done,” Adeyou told an event sponsored by Reuters, adding that he was optimistic Poland would support an agreement that the rest of its allies would endorse.

Polish diplomats expressed optimism that a deal was within reach, while others complained that the process had already dragged on and threatened to make Ukraine’s European allies look fragmented.

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Alan Rapport Contribute to the preparation of reports.