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Politics

Cyprus, Malta Want Russian Sanctions Oil Ban Exemption

ATHENS – The European Union’s united front of sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine that was being chipped away by exceptions for Hungary and Slovakia now is splintering further with Cyprus, Greece and Malta objecting to a planned ban on transporting Russian oil.

Cyriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who was already fidgeting over being required to go along with a ban on Russian airlines that keeps out a key market of Russian tourists, said Cyprus, Malta and Greece want to keep benefiting from dealing with Russia while saying they back sanctions.

The plans call for a ban on purchases and prohibit the shipping industry based in EU member countries from handling Russian oil, said Reuters, but the three countries have the largest shipping fleets in the bloc – Greece’s is the world’s largest – and they want to keep moving Russian oil.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said that’s producing blood money to help Russia kill civilians and a break from the ban would further dilute Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ vaunted vow of “full solidarity” with Ukraine that is shredding..

“It’s necessary to take into account concerns of Greece, Malta and of course Cyprus in specific matters relating to the sanctions,” Anastasiades told reporters in Athens.

Anastasiades, who earlier met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said this was a “common position” of both.

“We are both clear. We are against the Russian invasion and of course in favour of sanctions. But these sanctions should be targeted, and not selective in serving some member states and leaving others exposed,” Anastasiades said – an argument that every of the 27 countries could use to defend its own needs and wants and financial interests, rendering sanctions essentially useless.

The EU showed it’s ready to cave in, suggesting a three-month transition before banning bloc shipping services from transporting Russian oil instead of one month to meet the objections from Greece, Cyprus and Malta.

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