Fr, 2.12.2022

Deadline brought forward: Estonia bans in December any oil import from Russia

Meinhard Pulk
, ajakirjanik
Deadline brought forward: Estonia bans in December any oil import from Russia
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Russian oil tanker Ust Luga.
Russian oil tanker Ust Luga. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten

Estonia brings forward the ban on oil products imported from Russia. If the government approves the decision, the ban will come into effect from the beginning of December, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) confirmed to Postimees.

According to the currently valid pan-European sanctions decisions, crude oils produced from bituminous minerals derived from oil can be imported until December 5th, and other petroleum oils until February 5th. This is if the entrepreneurs had signed the contract before June 4.

Postimees has written earlier that although the import of oil from Russia to Estonia ended already in the summer, according to customs declarations, some companies import from Russia fuel-like products and other petroleum products worth millions of euros, which could be mixed here into motor fuels so as to hide the origin of the products. Postimees has established that a permit has also been issued in Estonia for the so-called Estonian blend scheme, i.e. the mixing of fuel from Russia and fuel with an EU certificate.

Estonia is now scrapping the February deadline and ending all oil imports from December.

“We have seen that the European Union has established a gradual transition period for sanctioning the import and transit of Russian crude oil and oil products, ending in February next year. And we have seen that due to the geographical location of Estonia – the vicinity of Russia and our ports – the transit has still continued. Estonia's position has always been that it should be ended quickly," Reinsalu emphasized.

“Taking into account the fact that the Riigikogu declared Putin's regime terrorist and the war has entered a new and bloodier phase, the government made a principled decision last week, and I hope that a formal decree will also be made. This means shortening the transition period: from December 5, the transit of Russian oil and oil products in Estonia must be completely stopped," the foreign minister assured.

Reinsalu does not deny that the decision has been boosted by very important and additional information that has come from the press and through Postimees. “This is definitely valuable information for making the decision," he said.

Does Estonia have a plan to take the initiative on a pan-European basis and act to shorten the transition period?

“A genocidal war against humanity cannot have a transitional period. Children are dying, people are being killed and we say that we have a three month transition period dealing with a criminal regime?”, Reinsalu said. “Estonia will take this step, implement the ban from the beginning of December, and hopefully the government will support it on Thursday.”

Reinsalu confirmed that on behalf of the Republic of Estonia, he has also sent the proposal for the introduction of a new sanctions package to the European Commission, so that the energy sanctions would be applied to both Russian gas and oil without delay and comprehensively.

Reinsalu also introduced these views to French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who is currently visiting Estonia. “She took note of this information. And she emphasized that France has also submitted its proposals to the ninth package. According to this model, the Commission would be like a gatekeeper to whom the countries submit proposals, and then the European Commission begins looking for the lowest common denominator among the states,” Reinsalu explained.