EU nation temporarily waives anti-Russia sanctions

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Bulgaria will exempt fuel supplies from the embargo, in view of the country’s economic plight

Energy-starved Bulgaria will temporarily cease to enforce EU sanctions on Russian fuel, to ensure the work of government institutions, the state press service reported on Wednesday following a Cabinet meeting.

According to the report, Russian companies supplying automotive fuel will be exempt from the embargo until the end of 2024, due to shortages in the country.

“It is permitted to conclude new state contracts and framework agreements with automotive fuel suppliers from the Russian Federation after October 10, 2022… An exception is introduced due to the need to ensure the normal operation of state bodies and other structures requiring motor fuel, in order to protect public order, the life and health of the citizens of Bulgaria, and national security,” the press service announced. The ban will come back into force on December 31, 2024.

The dominant fuel provider in the Balkan country is the Neftochim Burgas refinery, which is owned by Russia’s Lukoil. Until the sanctions, half of its oil supply came from Russia.

In early September, the head of the Bulgarian Finance Ministry, Rositsa Velkova, announced her intention to obtain permission from Brussels to continue buying fuel from Russia until at least the end of 2024. If Sophia does not receive a reprieve from the sanctions, the country’s drivers risk being left without fuel, the minister stressed.

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