Borrell defends effectiveness of economic sanctions against Russia and calls for “mounting pressure” despite Kremlin threats
Despite the high cost to the European economy of the war and sanctions against Russia, the European Union (EU) has no intention of stopping its crackdown on Vladimir Putin’s regime. And withdraw much less aid from Ukraine. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, said this on Monday at a meeting of foreign ministers in which an agreement was reached to send 500 million euros more in arms to Kiev.
This new investment from the European Peace Support Fund brings the total to 2,500 million allocated to purchase military equipment to be delivered to Ukraine since the start of the war. The EU emphasizes that this support is “decisive” to increase the defensive capacity of Ukrainian troops, which have also received training from European military authorities.
Support for Kiev will continue despite threats of a possible gas shutdown by Moscow and also criticism from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is very reluctant to take action against the Kremlin. Last week he assured that the measures against Russia were “a mistake” because “they do not achieve their goal”.
Borrell, on the other hand, denied those words on Monday: “Some leaders stated that the sanctions were a mistake, a mistake, I don’t think so. It is what we have to do and we will continue to do it,” he assured.
The intervention by videoconference by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba, has also tipped the balance in this regard. Withdrawing and bowing to their demands won’t work, never worked. It’s a trap,” he warned European ministers.
While Moscow is “using energy as a weapon,” the EU is responding with a series of sanctions that “work”, said Borrell, and “hit the Russian economy hard”. “We know that Russia can use gas as a weapon against us, in fact it has already done so, reducing the supply,” said the head of European diplomacy. However, these are “different things” and Europe “will not end its support for Ukraine or its sanctions against Russia.”
Now, efforts are focused on strengthening those six rounds of European penalties to avoid “loopholes” from which the Kremlin can take advantage. In that sense, the Twenty-seven are preparing a seventh set of sanctions that will include Russian gold — in line with those imposed by the group of G7 countries — as well as the asset freeze on more individuals and entities of Putin’s circle.
Russian forces are also blocking Ukrainian ports, carrying about 20 million tons of grain. This mainly affects countries such as Germany and Italy and North Africa and causes a global food crisis. Borrell has assured that the resumption of exports of these grains is “a matter of life or death” for tens of thousands of people and has expressed the hope that an agreement will be reached soon.
Source: La Verdad