An immediate and total ban on imports of Russian oil or gas would have "a devastating impact" on the European economy, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned at the EU summit in Brussels.
De Croo pointed out that the European Commission applies the principle that any sanctions should have a much heavier impact on Russia than on Europe itself.
"We are not at war with ourselves," he said. "The intention is not to take sanctions that would needlessly weaken our economy."
Several European countries such as the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania do want to go much further and faster in banning Russian oil or gas, but De Croo pointed out that Europe is disconnecting itself from Russian gas and oil, "step by step."
"All European countries are making those strategic choices to become less dependent on Russia. These are irreversible choices that will have a major impact on the Russian economy," he added.
The current arsenal of sanctions is already causing a lot of damage to the Russian economy, according to De Croo. The most important thing now is to see that all countries that apply sanctions do so in the same way, and that loopholes are closed.