Russia: EU oil products embargo will further unbalance energy markets
MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Kremlin on Friday said an EU embargo on Russia's refined oil products that will come into force on Sunday would further unbalance global energy markets.
The ban is the latest stage of Brussels' plan to cut the vast majority of Russian energy supplies to the 27-member bloc, and reduce the billions of dollars that Moscow earns globally from its hydrocarbon sales.
"Naturally this will lead to further imbalance in the global energy markets," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked about the likely impact.
"But we are taking measures to hedge our interests from any risks that arise," he added, without providing details.
Russian officials have said they will not sell oil to any country that abides by a $60-a-barrel price cap on purchases of Russian oil imposed by the European Union, the Group of Seven major economies and Australia.
Russia's Urals blend of crude oil has traded at a steep discount to the benchmark Brent blend since the EU's embargo on Russian crude came into effect last December. Refined products such as diesel and fuel oil sell at a premium to crude.
India and China, which have not imposed sanctions on Moscow for sending its armed forces into Ukraine, have stepped up their purchases of cheaper Russian oil over the last year as Western countries have drastically cut their imports.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)