The European Union is expected to join the United States in imposing new sanctions against Russia as horrifying reports of potential war crimes emerge in Ukraine. But critics, including some EU members, are calling the measures inadequate.
The new EU sanctions – the fifth round by the bloc since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – are expected to target Russian coal, shipping and banking sectors, including Sverbank, Russia’s biggest lender, which it says will affect its operations insignificantly. Will happen.
In a video address to the Irish parliament, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the EU indecisive for not adopting stronger measures to curb Russian energy imports.
There are also growing calls for tighter energy restrictions within the EU, including from the Baltic states – which ended Russian natural gas imports on 1 April – and the bloc’s executive arm. It also includes European Council President Charles Michel, who addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “I think measures on oil and even gas will be needed sooner or later.”
The same message was sent from EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who said the EU had paid Russian President Vladimir Putin more than $35 billion for energy imports since the war began, while The European Union had only shipped $1 billion worth of weapons and armaments. Ukraine.
The 27-member bloc has pledged to cut its Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year and completely eliminate energy imports from Moscow this decade. But countries such as Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas, are concerned about the economic impact of an immediate and total energy embargo.
Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, who won another term in office on Sunday and has forged close ties with Russia, is also pushing against tougher sanctions.
Still, horrifying reports of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine are hardening the European mentality. This week, more EU countries expelled dozens of Russian officials from their soil. Some member states are also sending their diplomats back to Ukraine, who had left after the Russian invasion six weeks ago.
On Tuesday, French prosecutors opened three investigations into alleged war crimes for activities they said were carried out against French citizens in Ukraine.
Interviewed by French radio, French President Emmanuel Macron, who currently presides over the European Union, said there are clear indications that war crimes were committed in Ukraine, possibly by Russia’s military. He said there should be international justice and criminals should be held accountable.
Nevertheless, Macron has maintained an open dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. It has been criticized by EU member Poland, which compares Putin to Hitler.