Member States of the European Union will no longer be allowed to import coal from Russia as of midnight on Wednesday.
The EU decided in April to introduce the sanction, but built in a transition period, which is now expiring. The import ban was part of the EU’s fifth sanctions package against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
The EU countries agreed to introduce a transition period of 120 days to give the industry time to adapt to the ban, which is aimed at weakening the Russian economy. The European Commission said in April that the coal embargo would cost Russia some €8 billion annually.
The EU imports 45 percent of its coal needs from Russia. Coal represented over a fifth of Russia’s exports to Europe last year, amounting to 48.7 million tonnes.
The import ban was the first European sanction against the Russian energy market. In a sanctions package approved later, the EU also agreed to suspend most oil imports from Russia to increase pressure on Moscow.
The oil ban will take effect at the end of this year, with exceptions for several countries that rely heavily on Russian oil, including Hungary. These will still be allowed to receive Russian oil through the pipelines.
However, Russian operator Transneft said on Tuesday that oil shipments from Russia to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia had been interrupted.