The countries in the European Union (EU) are handing Russia one billion euros a day, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday. The remarks came amid the growing chorus of imposing stringent sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine.
"Each day, roughly, we are paying €1 billion to import Russian energy, and that's, obviously, a source of income that's used to finance the war," Borrell told the European Parliament, according to the Washington Post.
He added that the 27-nation bloc is unable to ban Russian gas imports because some member states are so dependent of it that they are refusing to budge. Borrell said restrictions can't be imposed “overnight”.
This is the first time that a figure has been publicly announced on the scale of spending on oil despite reports claiming so over the past few weeks. The revelation came at a time when the European Commission brought forward proposal to ban Russian coal.
According to news agency Reuters, the ban on coal, if approved by EU states, would be the first on any energy import from Russia adopted by the bloc since Moscow launched what it calls a "special operation" in Ukraine on February 24.
The European Commission had proposed such a ban in January this year, weeks before the war in Ukraine began, but was blocked by Germany, according to Reuters.
A ban on coal will be around four billion euros a year, Reuters reported, quoting a source in the EU.
The EU, meanwhile, is separately proposing a ban on exports to Russia worth another 10 billion euros a year, including of semiconductors, computers, technology for LNG gas, and other electrical and transport equipment, the report further said.
It added that the 27-country EU would also ban all transactions with VTB and another three Russian banks which have already been excluded from the SWIFT messaging system.