Spain proposes closing ports to ‘Russian oligarchs’ over Ukraine
The Spanish Foreign Minister has proposed closing European ports to Russian ships as part of sanctions punishing Moscow for its attack on Ukraine. This would make “Russian oligarchs” pay their share of the prices of Russian foreign policy, Jose Manuel Albares told Radio Nacional de Espana on Monday.
The minister was explaining the EU’s use of individual sanctions against Russian citizens. The minister said he proposed to his EU counterparts “to close the ports of Europe to those yachts of millionaire oligarchs” from Russia.
The measure will prevent them from enjoying “the stability and prosperity that freedom, democracy and peace bring, which are the pillars with which we have built the European Union,” Albares explained.
The remark came as a commentary to a story that was widely reported over in the European press on Sunday. The story was about a Ukrainian mechanic, who allegedly tried to sabotage the boat of his employer of ten years that was docked in Mallorca.
The suspect reportedly said after being arrested that his boss was a senior Russian state-owned company official involved in weapons manufacturing and thus “a criminal who makes money selling weapons that now kill Ukrainians.” The sabotage was an act of revenge, he told a judge, according to the Spanish media.
Many EU nations, and later the union itself, have already closed their airspace to Russian passenger planes as part of their response to the hostilities in Ukraine. Moscow has been responding to those measures in kind.
Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on Thursday, claiming it was necessary to stop violence by Ukrainian troops against separatist Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which Moscow recognized as independent states earlier in the week. Kiev and its Western backers say the attack is an illegal war of aggression and that Russia wants to occupy Ukraine. Moscow’s stated its goals as demilitarization of the country and eradication of neo-Nazi forces entrenched in its military and law enforcement.