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18 Jan, 2022 19:00

EU explains position on new Russia sanctions

Brussels will not impose pre-emptive measures in attempt to stop invasion of Ukraine
EU explains position on new Russia sanctions

The EU’s most senior diplomat Josep Borrell has ruled out the introduction of “preventive sanctions” against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, clarifying that any measures would only be implemented in case of an actual attack.

Borrell’s comments come as tensions on the Russian frontier with Ukraine remain high and as Moscow stands accused of placing over 100,000 troops in the area in preparation for an invasion. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied these suggestions.

According to TASS, Borrell told the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs that the EU is preparing a package of sanctions that would be used to hit Moscow if it decided to invade Ukraine. However, despite cries from Kiev that Russia should be hit pre-emptively, Borrell revealed draft measures are being prepared but would only be implemented in case of escalation.

“Nobody has talked about preventive sanctions,” he said. “There will not be preventive sanctions … We are discussing about what to do in case that something happens.”

“To be prepared to act does not mean to act before it is needed,” he continued.

America has also threatened to hit Moscow with strong sanctions in case of a military incursion of Ukraine. Last week, a group of US senators from President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party introduced a bill containing possible restrictions to impose on Russia. Among other things, the bill proposes to impose sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. It also targets Russian banks and other industries.

Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Brussels to apply pre-emptive sanctions against Russia, suggesting that threats of harsh measures after an invasion would be too late.

“A sanctions policy ‘after’ is no longer of interest to anyone, frankly,” he said. “We are in favor of a strong sanctions policy before escalation, so there may not be an escalation at all.”