EU mulls 12th round of curbs on Russia

2023-11-15 10:15:31China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

European Union officials are finalizing the "last details" of a proposed 12th package of sanctions on Russia that will include a diamond ban, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

Borrell said the European Commission, the EU's executive body, could approve the proposed package on Wednesday. It would then go to the Council of the EU, comprising the bloc's 27 member countries, for discussion and approval.

Since Russia launched its special military operation in February 2022, the EU has applied 11 rounds of sanctions against Moscow to diminish the Kremlin's ability to finance the military operation. The measures span across sectors and include some 1,800 individuals and entities.

"This 12th package will include new export bans, among them …diamonds, actions to tighten the oil price cap, in order to decrease the revenue that Russia is getting from selling its oil — not to us but to others — and fighting against circumvention," Borrell told reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

EU diplomats told Reuters last week that the bloc had been waiting for a G7 green light to move ahead with the diamond ban.

The new sanctions would come as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government has agreed in principle to double the country's military aid for Ukraine next year to 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion).

Still, Scholz said on Saturday that he intended to continue dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and as Russian state news agency TASS reported, Scholz called the talks "absolutely necessary".

'Open to talks'

In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader never rules out contacts, as Putin always says he is open to various talks, especially summits with foreign leaders.

"But the president has always been and remains a fan of results-oriented communication, not just talk for the sake of talk," Peskov added.

Russian newspaper Vedomosti said Germany has been the main contributor of military assistance to Ukraine among European countries. In global terms, only the United States has given more. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Berlin provided Kyiv with 17 billion euros worth of military aid between January 2022 and July 2023.

Germany's move to increase assistance to Ukraine is most likely related to rumors that Western aid to Kyiv could decline due both to the escalation of tensions in the Middle East and the moderate results the Ukrainian army has achieved on the battlefield, said Artyom Sokolov, a researcher with the Institute for International Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

The measure positions Berlin as one of Washington's most reliable allies in Europe, including in terms of boosting military spending to 2 percent of its GDP, Sokolov said.

Alexander Kamkin, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of World Economy and International Relations, said Germany made the decision largely because the US is gradually reducing military aid to Ukraine, redirecting resources to the Middle East.

"Accordingly, by taking on such an obligation, Germany will be able to partially make up the difference," he told Vedomosti.

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