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31 Jan, 2022 17:42

EU sanctions on Russia to target Moscow’s ‘strategic ambitions’

Bloc working on ‘high-impact response’ to potential Russian invasion of Ukraine
EU sanctions on Russia to target Moscow’s ‘strategic ambitions’

The EU’s planned package of sanctions against Russia could deprive the country of goods needed for Moscow to realize its strategic ambitions, the EU high representative for foreign affairs revealed on Sunday.

Writing on his weekly blog, Josep Borrell accused Moscow of “waging a war of nerves” and continuing to “fuel a climate of tensions in Europe.”

Borrell’s blog comes as Moscow stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the border, with some alleging it is planning an attack. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin, and it has also been played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. As tensions remain high, the Eurocrat has ramped up his rhetoric, pledging to strike Russia with a package of strong measures if there is an invasion.

“As part of our work on deterrence, we have advanced with the preparations of a high-impact response that would inflict severe costs on the Russian economy and financial system,” he wrote. “We are also considering export-control measures that would have a longer-term effect, by denying Russia products that it needs to fulfill its strategic ambitions.”

The EU has been threatening new sanctions against Russia for some time. Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the American TV channel CNN that nothing is “off the table” when it comes to measures, including the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT international bank payment system and completely putting a halt on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Last week, Borrell said he had no further information that would indicate a Russian invasion of Ukraine is around the corner.

“Certainly no, I do not think there is anything new that can increase the feeling of fear about an immediate attack, no,” Borrell said, while accusing Moscow of attempting to “re-create dividing lines on our continent.”