European countries agreed to cap Russian oil price at $60 per barrel to further weaken Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine.
With this agreement, the bloc countries joined their allies in the Group of Seven (G7), especially the US, UK, and Australia, after Poland obstructed the measure before it withdrew its objection on Friday evening.
The cap is set to be implemented starting Monday when the European Union’s embargo on Russian seaborne crude goes into force.
Energy expert Phuc-Vinh Nguyen of Jacques Delors Institute said Russia had earned $71 billion selling oil to EU clients since its February invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s annual defense budget is estimated at $63 billion.
“We can formally agree to the decision,” Poland’s EU ambassador, Andrzej Sados, told reporters after his country pressed to set a lower price, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The EU presidency, currently held by the Czech Republic, confirmed member state ambassadors had agreed on the price cap and that the decision would enter into force when published in the EU official journal this weekend.
On Friday, the White House also “welcomed” the agreement, and National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that “the cap itself will have the desired effect on limiting Putin’s ability to profit off of oil sales and limit his ability to continue to use that money to fund his war machine.”
The EU sanctioned Russian oil traveling by sea beyond the $60 limit to curb the revenue Moscow earns from deliveries to countries such as China or India.
The measure will enhance the effectiveness of the European ban, which comes months after the US and Canada ban.
Russia is the second largest exporter of crude oil in the world. Without setting a ceiling, it will be straightforward for them to reach new buyers at market prices.