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16 Feb, 2023 08:58

EU fails to agree new anti-Russian sanctions – media

Member states were divided on a proposal to ban trade in synthetic rubber, according to Politico
EU fails to agree new anti-Russian sanctions – media

EU nations failed to reach agreement on a new package of anti-Russian sanctions at a meeting of ambassadors on Wednesday, with the issue of synthetic rubber emerging as a sticking point, Politico has reported. 

The outlet’s Thursday Playbook newsletter cited draft EU documents obtained by journalists. 

Synthetic rubber is a compound used in products such as tires, and is a major import article for the EU. According to Politico, countries including Italy and Germany are skeptical about banning it in trade with Russia, while Poland is in favor.

Russia exported almost $2 billion worth of synthetic rubber in 2021, Politico added, with some $700 million worth of the product sold to EU states.

EU leaders have acknowledged that ramping up sanctions against Russia has become increasingly difficult as the bloc runs out of areas to target.  

Individual member states have drawn red lines on some items, with Hungary stating it would not support any package including restrictions on Russian nuclear energy because of a deal with Moscow to expand its Paks nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said such a proposal “must obviously be vetoed” by Budapest if floated by the EU. 

Kiev has been lobbying its Western backers to target the Russian nuclear industry.

The upcoming package of sanctions is expected to be adopted before February 24, the anniversary of the launch of the Russian military operation against Ukraine. According to Politico sources, the package may include additional restrictions against the Russian aviation industry, banks, and oil tanker fleet.