EU agrees initial package of sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

The 27 member countries of the European Union unanimously agreed Tuesday on a first set of sanctions against Russian officials for their actions in Ukraine, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced.

The European Union’s foreign policy commissioner, Josep Borrell, assured that the package approved on Tuesday “will harm Russia, and it will harm it a lot.”

Borrell added that the sanctions would affect members of the lower house of the Russian Parliament and others involved in approving the deployment of Russian troops in the separatist-controlled regions of eastern Ukraine.

He assured that the package will also affect Russian financing of policies related to Ukraine, by limiting access to EU financial markets.

“This story is not over,” Borrell warned of Russian actions in Ukraine.

The EU’s announcement was part of efforts by world leaders to adopt as forceful a response as possible, in the hope of avoiding all-out war in Europe, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to deploy troops to the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine.

Germany took the first important step by halting the certification process for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a profitable transaction long desired by Moscow, but which the United States says deepens Europe’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

The rest of the European Union put some of its cards on the table by announcing sanctions on Russian officials, banks that finance the Russian armed forces and limiting Moscow’s access to European financial and capital markets.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that Britain was imposing sanctions on five banks and three oligarchs in Russia — already sanctioned by the United States — over the latest Russian military steps in Ukraine. Johnson told lawmakers that the sanctions would affect Rossiya Bank, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and Black Sea Bank.

The United States was also moving closer to applying more sanctions, with the White House calling the deployment of Russian troops an “invasion” – a red line that President Joe Biden had said would result in heavy US sanctions against Moscow.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg insisted that if Putin moved deeper into Ukraine, the West would move in unison. “If Russia decides once again to use force against Ukraine, there will be even stronger sanctions, even a higher price to pay,” he warned.

Read Also:  World First: Dutch carbon crypto company breaks open the billion-dollar market

The West stressed that Putin’s bold advances in Ukraine violate countless international agreements and that, with words of diplomacy failing, the time has come for action.

Western powers have long since resolved that the fate of Ukraine is not worthy of a direct military confrontation with Russia and the possibility of world war, so sanctions were the only and limited option to concretize their fury.

“There are no limits to how low they are willing to sink, there are no lies that are too blatant, there are no red lines that they are not willing to cross,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said in summing up the disgust felt in North America, Europe and the border democracies with Russia such as Japan and South Korea.

However, Putin continued to confuse the world with a strategy that did not make clear the scope of an invasion, something that would provoke the application of the most serious sanctions.

Russia claimed that it was sending “peace forces” to eastern Ukraine, but Commissioner Borrell emphasized that Russian “troops” were in sovereign Ukrainian territory.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a full-fledged invasion, but there are Russian troops on Ukrainian soil,” Borrell admitted.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace didn’t mince words. “Russia has already invaded Ukraine. They did it in 2014, they illegally occupied Crimea and Donbas. This is a new invasion of their sovereign territory,” Wallace added.

Whatever the description, the latest developments were enough to force the 27-nation bloc into high-alert mode, and EU foreign ministers were set to decide later Tuesday how deep a first batch of sanctions.

It is likely that it will not reach the “massive” package that the EU and Washington have threatened with a full military invasion of the national territory that Kiev still controls. “How we respond will define us for generations to come,” Simonyte said.

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here