The European Union imposed additional sanctions on Russia, targeting the financial sector and export.
BRUSSELLS: A diplomat from the EU said Thursday that new sanctions will be imposed on Russia to target industry, financial and export sectors in response to Moscow’s invasion.
The diplomat stated that “we want the largest possible package, which targets industrial sectors, financial controls, and maybe visa policy”, adding that EU sanctions would be used to target Russian oligarchs, particularly those who are close to President Vladimir Putin.
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Wednesday, the emergency summit of EU leaders will be held at 1900 GMT to discuss sanctions.
Leaders of the European Union said Thursday that they would place harsher sanctions on Russia for its invasion in Ukraine. This will target Russia’s elites and hit its economy hard.
New sanctions include the freezing of Russian assets within the bloc of 27 nations, blocking banks’ access to European financial market and “Kremlin interests”.
The bloc will also target Russia in trade, energy, and transport. It will also include export controls in what Josep Borrell, EU’s chief of foreign policy, described as “the most severe package of sanctions we’ve ever implemented.”
Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Prime Minister, stated that sanctions would hurt Russia’s economy. He was arriving at an emergency summit of EU leaders.
However, the feeling of powerlessness by Western leaders to end a war they saw coming was felt before the summit even began.
“We weren’t successful enough, or decisive enough to stop Russia from taking this step,” said Gitanas Nauseda, Lithuanian President.
“I still believe in the potential…of the EU to prevent such actions in central Europe. He said that we must act to achieve this. “Tomorrow may be too late.”
There are divergent views across 27 member countries on how severe sanctions should be applied. Some states could be the hardest hit and will insist that they keep the strongest steps in reserve.
De Croo stated immediately that the package of sanctions was needed to be extended.
We need sanctions that are firm and enforced. He said that while we shouldn’t be returning for a third package of sanctions, the first package must be the best.
Russian forces launched missiles at Ukrainian cities, including its capital Kyiv. They also landed troops along the Azov and Black Sea coasts of Ukraine on Thursday in the largest attack by one country against another in Europe since World War Two.
“MASSIVE AND SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES”
Nauseda stated earlier that the summit will also consider Ukraine’s application for EU status. This is a step Kyiv long demanded, but it might not be approved by all leaders.
Reuters saw a draft of the summit’s conclusions. It stated that Russia would face severe and massive sanctions if it continues to take its actions in close coordination with its allies and partners.
Russian assets in the EU will be frozen, and Russian banks would be denied access to Europe’s financial market.
EU sources stated that Russia’s exclusion from the SWIFT global interbank payment system is unlikely at this stage.
Different levels of dependence on Russian gas in EU member states could make it difficult to adopt sanctions or limit their ambitions. Some are keen to see a gradual approach.
One diplomat from the EU stated that while some EU members had pushed for tougher sanctions to stop a complete Russian invasion, others were reluctant.
According to the diplomat, Italy, Germany, and Cyprus prefer a step by step approach. Central European and Baltic countries, which are closer to Russia, want a more aggressive stance.
Janez Jansa, the Slovenian Prime Minister, said that Russia supports the most severe sanctions. She was wearing a tie in the Ukrainian flag’s blue and yellow colours. “Russia must feel that the price for aggression is substantial.”
On Wednesday, the EU approved a first round sanctions that included blacklisting Russian politicians as well as limiting trade between the EU’s two eastern Ukraine breakaway regions. Moscow recognizes their independence.
New sanctions will be prepared by the EU against Belarus. According to Ukraine’s border service, Russian troops entered Belarus via Belarusian support.
The EU will also create a new aid package to Ukraine and assist with evacuation operations, which includes EU staff.