Europe

EU urges Russia to de-escalate, threatens ‘massive’ sanctions


The European Union known as on Russia on Monday (24 January) to defuse tensions over Ukraine and reaffirmed that Moscow would face “massive” penalties if it attacked its neighbour, write Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold.

The EU’s 27 overseas ministers, assembly in Brussels, mentioned the bloc “condemns Russia’s continued aggressive actions and threats against Ukraine and calls on Russia to de-escalate.”

“Notions of ‘sphere of influence’ have no place in the 21st century … any further military aggression by Russia over Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe costs,” they mentioned in an announcement, giving no particulars of the “consequences”.

Russia has massed tens of hundreds of troops close to Ukraine’s borders. It denies planning an invasion however NATO mentioned it was placing forces on standby and reinforcing japanese Europe – strikes that Moscow described as “hysteria”.

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Denmark mentioned the EU could be able to impose “never-seen-before” financial sanctions on Russia.

The European Commission, the EU government physique, proposed a 1.2-billion euro ($1.36-billion) monetary assist package deal for Ukraine L8N2U42SZ, however there are variations amongst EU member states about how exhausting to be on Russia.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis steered Russia needed to “splinter the West” and that the EU couldn’t afford to be divided.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has urged Europe and the United States to think twice when contemplating sanctions and a few European politicians, and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg underlined the EU’s heavy dependency on Russian fuel. read more .

A grenade launcher operator of the Russian armed forces takes part in combat drills at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region, Russia December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

Asked about potential sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, which is but to win regulatory approval, Schallenberg mentioned sanctioning one thing that’s not but operative was not a reputable risk.

Another potential sanction could be slicing Russia off from the SWIFT world messaging system, however German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned wielding the “hardest stick” might not at all times be the easiest way to cope with such a state of affairs.

The EU has been largely sidelined by direct Russia-U.S. talks, however the overseas ministers started talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken remotely on Monday.

“Russia should know, (President Vladimir) Putin should know that the price of using provocations and military forces to change borders in Europe will be very, very high… We are ready to undertake the most severe sanctions, also more severe than in 2014,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod instructed reporters.

He declined to say what sectors could be focused.

The EU, together with the United States, imposed financial sanctions on Moscow focusing on its vitality, banking and defence sectors after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

For now, the EU doesn’t plan to withdraw diplomats’ households from Ukraine, its overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned after Washington introduced such a transfer.

($1 = €0.8854)

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