Nicosia has been defending its stance towards sanctions against Moscow on the basis of principles and European unity, but lack of consensus for the bloc to seek a collective ban on Russian oil supplies has made cracks in the united front appear larger.
EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told Le Figaro this week that the European Union currently had no plans to seek a collective ban, saying some member states would not go along.
"It will be very hard because some member states have already announced they would veto any collective decision," Borrell was quoted as saying on Friday.
The statement came as EU officials were seeking to fine-tune a phaseout of Russian oil imports, which could be presented to member states as early as next week.
It was not immediately clear how many EU members said they would veto the initiative but the report suggested the two opposing camps included France and Poland pressing for a full-fledged oil embargo while Germany, Austria, and Hungary were against the idea.
Cyprus did not indicate publicly its intentions but Nicosia has stated last month that support for sanctions against Russia was based on principle as well as unity within the bloc.
Cyprus did not indicate publicly its intentions but Nicosia has stated last month that support for sanctions against Russia was based on principle as well as unity within the bloc
The Republic of Cyprus does not buy oil and gas directly from Russia according to industry experts, including economist Marios Christou, who heads the Centre of Economic Studies at the University of Nicosia.
Last month Moscow responded to European sanctions by calling on European customers to pay for Russian gas in rubles.
Christou said Moscow’s decision was “more political than economic” in an effort by Russia to challenge dominance by the US dollar.
But the academic pointed to uncertainty over how Cyprus would be affected due to costs going up due to the war in Ukraine. Christou argued that European tourists may not be inclined to visit the island due to high prices but also pointed to concerns over the commercial wars between China and the United States.
The uncertainty was also highlighted on Wednesday when US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Europe to be “careful” about imposing a complete ban on Russian energy imports.
Yellen, who walked out of a G20 session on Wednesday along with other global financial leaders as Russian officials were speaking, warned of the potential harm such a move could inflict on the global economy.