The EU prepares new sanctions against Russia to corner its war economy | International

The European Union plans to shake the Russian war economy. The foreign ministers of the member states have agreed to promote a new package of sanctions against the regime of Vladimir Putin, after the nuclear threats of the head of the Kremlin against the West, his declaration of “partial mobilization” – the first decreed in Russia since II World War—to swell its troops in Ukraine and the calling of pseudo referendums in the occupied Ukrainian territories to annex them to Russia. The representatives of Foreign Affairs of the Twenty-seven have agreed in a meeting called urgently in New York, where they attend the United Nations General Assembly, to send more weapons to Ukraine, where the successful counteroffensive in the east of the kyiv troops has achieved the withdrawal of Kremlin forces. The new package of sanctions, the eighth, seeks to target again the Russian economy and people linked to Putin’s war against Ukraine.

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In a context of crisis due to the fall in Russian gas supply, with electricity prices skyrocketing throughout Europe and as Putin raises his stakes in his energy battle against the EU, it may be more difficult to achieve unity among the Twenty-seven to carry out this new package of sanctions. This Tuesday, one day before Putin’s decision to mobilize some 300,000 men to send them to Ukraine to fight and the call for votes for the absorption of the occupied Ukrainian territories, Hungary again spoke out against it. His prime minister, Viktor Orbán, close to Putin, maintains that the sanctions harm Europe and fuel the energy crisis.

However, after the escalation and Putin’s resounding threats to use nuclear weapons, voices are increasing calling for a vigorous reaction from the EU, which has defined Putin’s measures as a sign of weakness and that he is losing the war. “We have decided to present additional restrictive measures against Russia as soon as possible in coordination with the partners”, said the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, after the meeting with the foreign ministers of the Twenty-seven, in which they listened to Dmitro Kuleba, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy. “We will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts by supplying military equipment,” he said without elaborating. Earlier, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, remarked in an interview with CNN that she will propose to include additional controls on the export of civil technology.

Moscow insists that the EU sanctions do not work, which include a ban on raw materials such as coal and which also target the Russian export and import market, as well as a good number of people linked to the Kremlin (from officials to oligarchs, passing through relatives of Putin’s closest circle), who are prohibited from entering community territory and have seen their assets frozen in Europe. But the reality is stubborn in the face of media propaganda from the Russian regime’s orbit, and this is that sanctions are affecting the Russian market with such basic examples as airlines reusing old aircraft parts to keep planes in the air. they can, in the absence of components.

Putin’s decision to order a mobilization that he has called “partial”, but in which he leaves regional authorities wide open to recruit, has stoked panic in many Russian homes, which may begin to review their awareness of the war, facing to the Kremlin’s propaganda that Russia is fighting a “neo-Nazi” Ukraine. Russian security forces arrested on Wednesday more than a thousand people who went out to demonstrate in small marches in various Russian cities, an action that is not trivial since Russia penalizes those who protest, and more against a war that cannot even not to be mentioned: the Kremlin has banned calling it that and calls it a “special military operation”.

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The new package of sanctions could be formalized in October, when the Foreign Ministers of the Member States meet in Brussels, although the sixth package of sanctions (the seventh was, in fact, to cover cracks in previous measures) needed more than four weeks of negotiations to move forward. They would be added to the measures against exports from Russia, which had 50% of its market in the EU; a veto on oil imported by ship; the disconnection of Russian banks from the Swift financial communication system, a key instrument for international economic relations, and the prohibition of broadcasting in community territory of several television channels linked to the Kremlin.

In addition, the export of numerous essential goods for Russian industry, such as semiconductors, aviation equipment or technology for the energy and space sectors, has been restricted. The export to the EU of coal, iron, steel, wood or cement has also been prohibited. European sanctions packages have also affected transport. Since February, all Russian airlines have been banned from entering Union airspace or taking off from any airport in a Member State.

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