European leaders have agreed to phase out Russian coal imports as part of a new package of sanctions.

The European Union on August 5 announced that its embargo on Russian coal will come into effect on August 10 "as planned" as proposed in its fifth package of restrictive measures against Russia for its brutal invasion of Ukraine.  EU urged all the member states to adhere to the ban despite the ongoing energy crisis.  "These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine," the European Union stated in a release.

All forms of Russian coal will be banned from the European Union, a move that the European Commission said Friday would affect about €8 billion (US$8.7 billion) worth of Russian exports per year. Europe plans to wind down imports over the next four months, an EU source told CNN Business.

It is the first time Europe has come after Russia's vast energy sector, but it doesn't go nearly far enough for Ukraine, which on August 5 repeated its call for an embargo against oil supplies from Russia.  

The European Commission says that about 45% of the bloc's natural gas imports, and around 25% of its oil imports, come from Russia.  The European Union has imported about €35 billion ($38 billion) worth of Russian energy since the war began.

Coal was always the easier target: Europe imports almost half its coal from Russia, but demand for the world's dirtiest fossil fuel was already waning, and alternative supplies are more readily available than for natural gas.

Russia is the world's second-largest crude oil exporter, behind Saudi Arabia, and accounted for 14% of global supply last year, according to the International Energy Agency.  Nearly two-thirds of its exports went to Europe before Russia launched the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.   

CNN Business notes that while sanctions on Russian natural gas are unlikely at this point because of the economic damage they would cause, Europe could better withstand an embargo on Russian oil.