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EU plans to impose stronger sanctions on Russia but to protect its own interests

BRUSSELS – When Russian President Putin announced the recognition of Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk on Monday, the European Union won praise for its swift and decisive imposition of sanctions. for those within his inner circle.

Leaders in the bloc also warned that a larger package was being prepared in case Putin decided to invade. And diplomats on Wednesday expressed hope that the mere threat of a second package, which they call the “sword of Damocles,” will act as a deterrent.

But when the Russian military launched its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, it became clear that they made an unfortunate miscalculation.

As a result, EU leaders will arrive in Brussels on Thursday evening for an emergency summit that seeks to quickly pass a second round of sanctions, albeit with a lack of compromise. facing an ever-present conflict would be difficult.

Until the invasion, European diplomats directly involved in the sanctions negotiations presented a less unified picture of the European Union, whose reliance on Russian gas is just one of the limited ways of actually punishing Moscow without crippling its own economy.

Diplomats say some EU members are concerned about other sectors of the Russian economy that could be sanctioned. Austria, Germany and Italy raised concerns about the imposition of broad sanctions on cross-border financial transactions and banking activities. And Italy is trying to let the luxury sector suffer so it can continue to export fashion and other high-end products to Russia.

“Going beyond Wednesday’s sanctions could prove a huge problem for Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at consulting firm Eurasia Group. Italy’s many-sided dependence on Russia.

Belgium is seeking exemptions for its major diamond sector, and no EU country is seriously backing sanctions on Russia’s vital energy sector.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, has been working on the sanctions package for months, which partly explains why this week’s first set of sanctions was approved so quickly. But there is no guarantee that the same will happen with the second one on Thursday.

Josep Borrelle Fontelles, the EU’s top diplomat, said on Thursday morning that the bloc was prepared to pass “the harshest sanctions package we have ever implemented”. Proof will be made.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/world/europe/eu-russia-sanctions.html EU plans to impose stronger sanctions on Russia but to protect its own interests

Fry Electronics Team

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