Ukraine: Brussels imposes first sanctions against Russian energy in response to Buka massacre

admin April 5, 2022 53 Views
Updated 2022/04/05 at 3:44 PM
7 Min Read
Ukraine: Brussels imposes first sanctions against Russian energy in response to Buka massacre
Ukraine: Brussels imposes first sanctions against Russian energy in response to Buka massacre Listen to this article

Some volunteers collected some corpses from the road in Buka, near Kyiv, on Sunday.
Some volunteers collected some corpses from the road in Buka, near Kyiv, on Sunday.Mykhaylo Palinchak / Zuma Press / ContactPhoto (Europa Press)

Horrifying images of dozens of civilians brutally murdered and abandoned on the streets from Ukraine in recent days have prompted the European Commission on Tuesday to impose the first sanctions against Russian energy. At the moment this would be a ban on coal imports of 4,000 million euros per year, but it is the first step that opens the door to hitting oil and gas, the real machine for generating money in a juicy sector that connects two-thirds of the community block. Import from Russia.

The commission’s proposal, which still needs the approval of twenty-seven, comes after a tug of war between the capitals to attack a very sensitive area, which was opposed by countries such as Germany and Austria. The pressure of recent days with the corpses of Bucha and other cities on the outskirts of Kyiv in Ukraine, still fresh in memory, has broken the resistance.

It is unknown whether Hungary, whose recently re-elected government is close to the Kremlin, would oppose the decision: until now it had expressed reluctance to involve energy in retaliation. But the community executive has been negotiating for weeks and taking the temperature of community partners, and everything suggests it will have calibrated margins for measures to proceed without the risk of finding a veto by any member state.

“Today we propose a further step in our sanctions”, assured Ursula von der Leyen, president of the Community Executive, when announcing the proposal this Tuesday. During the speech he recalled “horrifying images of Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left.” He assured that this is the engine which has given impetus to this fifth package of retaliation. “We will make them wider and faster. so that they cut off the Russian economy even more”, he added, before announcing that the flow of coal from Russia to the EU has been cut, but this is only the first stone on the road: “We are working on additional sanctions “Even on oil imports”, he settled.

The nine sanctions package, announced three weeks after the previous one was approved, touches even more areas on March 15 and has been advanced by its main lines von der Leyen and the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. European leaders have announced that they intend to visit Kyiv this week.

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closing the ports of Russian ships

The community executive’s proposal includes a complete ban on transactions with four Russian banks, which together account for about a fifth of the market share, including VTB (the second largest in Russia); EU ports are also closed to all Russian or Russian-operated vessels (except for essential products in areas such as food, humanitarian aid or energy); In the words of von der Leyen, there is a ban on the import of specialized and remote-controlled goods worth 10,000 million euros in areas such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, where Russia is “vulnerable”.

Borrell explained that Brussels’ proposal also included “dozens” of names of people and companies that would be added to the EU’s already extensive blacklist, which to date includes 877 people and 62 entities, who have lost assets and the EU’s assets. subject to travel. Sanctions; Among them are the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (who has not been banned from traveling to the European Union for leaving open a potential diplomatic channel).

“Our sanctions are intended to stop the dishonest, inhuman and aggressive treatment of Russian troops and to make it clear to decision-makers in the Kremlin that an illegal offensive comes at a heavy price,” Borrell stressed.

If oil is struck in the future, it will have a disastrous effect on the treasury of Vladimir Putin’s regime. It is the main energy commodity of EU imports from Russia: it costs 42,000 million euros per year, 10 times more than coal, according to data from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, and even more than gas, which reaches one. 28,400 million and on which the European Union is heavily dependent.

According to commission statistics, the community bloc is required to import 90% of the gas, of which Russia provides more than 40%. In addition, 27% of oil imports and 46% of coal imports also come from the Eurasian giant. In 2021, energy added 62% of total imports from the Eurasian neighbour, according to data from the EU statistical office, Eurostat.

One of the unknowns that is now uncovered is Russia’s possible response to the sanctions. A month ago, when the prospect of shutting down a tap of oil flowing into the EU was raised, it warned that it could fight back by closing one of its main gas pipelines, Nord Stream 1, to Germany.

Borrell also announced during his appearance that he had decided to nominate various officials of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the EU personality non greta “for engaging in activities contrary to his diplomatic status.” The announcement comes after several capitals such as Paris, Berlin and Spain announced the expulsion of dozens of members of the diplomatic staff this Monday and Tuesday.

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