By Alexander Miller, for Eurasia Business News – February 22, 2022
The ministers of foreign affairs of European Union Member States agreed to impose new sanctions against Russia, after the Russian president Vladimir Putin formally recognised the two separatist republics of eastern Ukraine on February 21.
Brussels has agreed on new restrictive measures in coordination with the United States, Britain and Canada, said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on Tuesday at a press conference following an emergency meeting of the EU Council in Paris.
“After 24 hours, we gave a quick response, showing our determination. We unanimously reached a decision to accept a package of sanctions that will cause damage to Russia, very big damage“, said Josep Borrell.
According to Borrell, the new package includes sanctions against 351 Russian State Duma deputies who voted for the independence of Donbass. In addition, the EU blacklisted 27 individuals and legal entities, including banks and organizations that finance Russia’s operations in the Donbas. The EU also banned its business relations with the LPR and DPR and decided to restrict Russia’s access to the EU financial and capital markets, Borrell said.
The head of EU diplomacy also said that he welcomed Germany’s decision to stop the certification of Nord Stream 2. “The package of sanctions was supplemented by a decision that was taken not by the European Union, but by Germany. I welcome Germany’s step, which makes our response even stronger, to stop certification, and hence the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Countries have asked for this many times – members of the EU and the US” said Josep Borrell.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin is not included in the sanctions list of the European Union.
Negotiations with the Russian Federation
According to Josep Borrell, the European Union will continue diplomatic efforts, in particular in the United Nations and the OSCE, to “bring Russia back to the negotiating table.”
“We prefer the diplomatic path, we will continue diplomatic efforts, especially in the format of the OSCE and the UN, to bring Russia to the negotiating table,” said Borrell.
He added that diplomatic efforts will continue to avoid war in the center of Europe : “I fully agree with the UN that the risk of a full-scale conflict is real and we need to prevent it at all costs.”
The EU High Representative also warned Minsk of its readiness to impose sanctions against Belarusian officials who support Russia’s actions. “We are also closely following the situation with Belarus, which supports Russia’s actions regarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine. I am ready to make proposals for taking action against those who support the Russian government and benefit from it“, noted Josep Borrell.
The European Union confirmed its political support to Ukraine. Josep Borrell talked with Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister and assured him of the European support and solidarity in these difficult times.
Sanctions and commidities
Russia is a major player in the international chessboard and the EU’s fifth largest trade partner, representing 4.8% of the EU’s total trade in goods with the world in 2020. Russia is the largest exporter of palladium in the world and a large producer of platinum and gold. Moscow provides oil and gas to Europe.
Sanctions should boost the inflation of these commodities and precious metals prices. Strong economic sanctions against Russia may also cost the European economy billions of euros in losses in trade and raw materials supplies. Russia may also suffer from economic sanctions, above all in the financial industry. However, the Western sanctions taken in 2014 have not eased the Russian position on Ukraine.
On February 22, stocks markets fell, as Russian sents troops to support the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The S&P 500 is on course for a correction, down more than 10% from January’s high, reported the Wall Street Journal.
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