EU wants to increase pressure on Moscow - politics

The EU wants to impose more sanctions on Russia. The foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states agreed on this at an informal meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The planned eighth package of sanctions is a reaction to a further escalation of the Ukraine war by Russian President Vladimir Putin: While heads of state and government from all over the world gathered in New York to promote international understanding, Putin announced partial mobilization in a television speech and indirectly helped threatened to use nuclear weapons. The Russian troops in the Ukraine now strengthen.

The foreign ministers of the G-7 countries, i.e. Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and the USA, also announced further targeted punitive measures and agreed to maintain economic and political pressure on Russia. This was stated by Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock as Chair after a meeting of the ministers in New York. They made it clear that the annexation of other parts of Ukraine by Russia would not be recognized, nor would the referendums announced by Russia in the Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions, which are due to start this Friday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after the EU foreign ministers' meeting that the EU would "take new restrictive measures at both personal and sectoral levels". On the one hand, the EU states are considering banning further Russian officials from entering the EU; their assets in Europe are to be frozen. So far, this type of sanction affects 1206 people. On the other hand, the EU is apparently planning additional restrictions on imports and exports. Borrell said the new penalties should hurt Russia's tech sector. There is already a long list of important products that cannot be sold to Russia, such as computer chips or spare parts for airplanes. In addition, it is apparently also about sanctions against other banks or additional restrictions on Russian exports.

Since the G-7 summit in Elmau in June, there has also been talk of an upper price limit for Russian oil exports all over the world. In any case, an import ban on Russian oil transported by tanker will come into force in the EU at the end of the year. Oil can only continue to flow to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia via the Druzhba pipeline. Three weeks ago, however, the finance ministers of the G7 agreed to work on a price cap that would apply worldwide. The EU as a whole could now join this initiative. The plan starts with the ship's insurers: According to this, oil tankers with Russian goods should only be able to take out insurance and use other services if the oil was not sold at a too high price, for example to Asia.

The EU Commission is now discussing the details of new sanctions with the member states; then the 27 EU government ambassadors will discuss it in Brussels. Any tightening requires unanimity among the member states.

In the UN Security Council, Ukraine and Western partners exchanged blows with Russia on Thursday. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian colleague Sergey Lavrov met for the first time since the beginning of the war in the most powerful UN body in New York. Kuleba accused Moscow of serious war crimes and warned that Russia could not win the war. Lavrov, in turn, made serious allegations against Ukraine, accusing the West of directly interfering in the war by supplying arms to and providing other support to Kyiv. Lavrov only appeared at the meeting for his own speech, but then disappeared again immediately and was represented for the rest of the time by his deputy Sergei Vershinin.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia, now fueling the fire it had started, shows complete contempt for the UN Charter. The international order will be "shattered before our eyes. We cannot and will not allow President Putin to get away with it." Baerbock said Moscow was waging a war with war crimes, torture and rape. Addressing Russia, she said: "This is a war you will not win."

For the first time in months, broad public protest has been stirring among the Russian population. People took to the streets in several cities on Wednesday. So far, there are no estimates or official figures. The operators of the civil rights portal OWD-Info report more than 1,300 arrests in a good three dozen places.

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