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Annie Gugliotta

A guide to the EU’s lukewarm Russian oil embargo

After months of diplomatic wrangling, it seemed this week like the European Union had finally made a big breakthrough in its effort to punish President Vladimir Putin for attacking Ukraine. Oil prices soared, and gas hit new highs after Brussels announced that it had reached an agreement to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

But the agreement also includes a slate of carve-outs and caveats that could dilute the bloc’s effort to decapitate the Kremlin’s war machine.

What’s in the deal?

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during an address in Kyiv, Ukraine


What We're Watching: Zelensky stays put as EU, US sanction Putin & Biden Supreme Court nominee makes history

Zelensky staying as EU, US, Canada set to sanction Putin. As Russian forces entered the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Friday, the US, Canada, and the EU said they would freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier announced a similar move. Though most analysts say that Putin has used fronts to shield his personal wealth from measures like this, the move marks a significant symbolic escalation and further isolates the Kremlin from the international community. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that he will remain in the country, despite reports that he and his family are on the Kremlin’s “kill list.” Reports of de-escalation talks in Minsk appear to be dead in the water as Moscow continues to pummel major Ukrainian cities, and as officials in Ukraine tell residents to take up arms and “prepare Molotov cocktails.” Meanwhile, on Friday evening, the UN Security Council voted on a resolution condemning Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, with China and India abstaining. China's vote is seen as helpful in further isolating Russia.

Judicial history in the making. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Joe Biden on Friday. If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Black female justice on the nation’s highest court. "I believe it's time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications,” Biden said of Jackson, who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She has worked as a commissioner on the US Sentencing Commission, a private lawyer, on two federal courts and as an assistant federal defender. Nominated to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, for whom she once clerked, Jackson begins meeting with legislators on the Hill next week, and confirmation hearings should begin within weeks. Should she secure the role, the ideological makeup of the court — with 6 conservatives and 3 liberals — will remain the same. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was quick to label the pick a win for the “radical left,” and most Republican senators are expected to oppose Jackson’s confirmation. Democrats would prefer bipartisan support, which adds credibility to the court, but they can confirm her without a single GOP vote so long as all 50 Democratic senators vote in favor of Jackson.

What We're Watching: Bangladesh religious violence, Ecuadorian drug emergency, Lebanese to vote, Russia ditches NATO

Religious tension rising in Bangladesh: Clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Bangladesh have surged over the past week, leaving at least four people dead. After an image was posted on Facebook showing the Quran at the feet of a statue at a Hindu temple, Muslims burned Hindu-owned homes and attacked their holy sites. Both sides have taken to the street in protest, with Hindus saying that they have been prevented from celebrating Durga Puja, the largest Hindu festival in the country. Such acts of sectarian violence are not uncommon in Bangladesh, a majority-Muslim country where Hindus account for nine percent of the population. Indeed, as Eurasia Group's Kevin Allison recently warned, unverified social media content stoking inter-ethnic conflict is a massive problem throughout South Asia, where for many people Facebook is synonymous with the internet.

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