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Oil Prices Retreat As EU Splits On Russian Embargo

Crude oil prices gave up early gains to turn lower on Tuesday after reports emerged that European Union foreign ministers are split on whether to join the United States in banning Russian oil.

Brent crude futures dropped 1.4 percent to $113.88 per barrel, while WTI futures were down 1.9 percent at $107.86.

Targeting Russian energy exports is a divisive choice for the 27-nation EU, which relies on Russia for 40 percent of its gas.

"The question of an oil embargo is not a question of whether we want or don't want (it), but a question of how much we depend on oil," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters.

Meanwhile, reports emerged that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was prepared to discuss a commitment from Ukraine not to seek NATO membership in exchange for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and a guarantee of Ukraine's security.

The prospect of a sharper hike in U.S. interest rates and concerns over demand arising from a surge in Covid-19 cases in China also prompted traders to book profits after strong gains in recent sessions.

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