EU admits target of sanctions against Russia

EU admits target of sanctions against Russia

Brussels intends to create problems for the Russian economy, but it will not stop the fighting in Ukraine, said Josep Borrell

The embargoes imposed by the European Union against Moscow are not intended to stop the fighting in Ukraine, but to ruin the Russian economy, the bloc’s foreign policy commissioner, Josep Borrell, said on Monday in Brussels. Borrell also announced an EU ban on Russian gold exports later this week.

“EU sanctions will not stop military activities in Ukraine, but they should create a lot of problems for the Russian economy.” Borrell said, adding that the EU “cannot afford sanctions fatigue.”

russian president vladimir putin “counts on the fatigue of democracies with sanctions”, said the EU’s high representative for foreign policy. “It is not easy, but we must continue to put pressure on the Russian economy. Our European societies must not abandon this policy”, he added.

Borrell’s comments echoed the argument he made in a blog post over the weekend, responding in part to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s statement that the embargo policy has been “miscalculated” and hurt EU members more than Moscow.

The Spanish diplomat also argued that the embargoes were not to blame for the pain at the pump, saying that the price of oil was the same now as it was in February.

Borrell revealed that the EU plans to impose a ban on Russian gold later this week, in a mini-package of measures aimed at improving implementation of existing sanctions. The ban would affect the “the direct or indirect import, purchase or transfer of gold, which is Russia’s most important export after energy”, according to the wording leaked to The Guardian.

While Brussels has officially pledged to support the Ukrainian government with an emergency loan of 9 billion euros ($9 billion), the Wall Street Journal reported that no money has yet been disbursed. Meanwhile, the fund to supply arms to kyiv has been limited to 5.7 billion euros until 2027.

Melissa Galbraith
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