Russia sanctions talks end after EU leaders meet

If the differences persist, it could be worse than European leaders biting back on sanctions against Russia at a summit this week.

The leaders issued a joint statement in Brussels on December 16, “The European Council discussed further increasing the collective pressure on Russia to stop the war of aggression and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.”

According to a draft released last weekend and seen by EUobserver, the EU-27 wanted to say it “welcomes the strengthening of EU restrictive measures against Russia, including the ninth EU package”.

The conclusions of the summit are full of pompous rhetoric about support for Ukraine.

The leaders were also expected to confirm that Russian President Vladimir Putin will ever be tried for the crime of “rape” and to instruct the European Commission to investigate “options for using frozen food”. [Russian] assets to support the reconstruction of Ukraine and for the purpose of reparations”.

But as the clock ticks down to Friday, not all 27 capitals are happy with Russia’s ninth bars.

On the one hand, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a friend of Russia, is trying to remove three people from the EU visa ban and asset freeze list before moving forward, diplomatic sources said.

Hungary’s foreign ministry declined to say who or why, but Orban’s last-minute move was seen as frowned upon by some EU colleagues.

“Capital has two or three opportunities to say no to individuals [in preliminary sanctions talks]therefore, these last-minute protests are equal to political corruption,” the European diplomat said.

This sends a message to Putin that you [a Putin crony] they are blacklisted, we can still save you,” they said.

Meanwhile, Germany is trying to negotiate exemptions as part of a ban on Russian fertilizer imports in the name of protecting global food security, a second EU diplomat said.

He added that several other EU countries are also demanding a national waiver of the ban on trade with Russia’s mining industry.

“We are in a desperate situation. There are disagreements on fundamental issues that are difficult to reconcile.”

“We all want to reach an agreement before the EU Council, and that’s what the Czechs are [the current EU presidency holders] they are pushing,” said a third EU diplomat.

However, EU ambassadors predicted that talks on sanctions will be extended on the sidelines of the summit on Friday.

“They will try not to worry the leaders too much about this issue.

The latest sanctions come amid Russia’s crackdown on Ukraine’s heating and water systems, which is expected to push hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees into EU countries.

Ten months after the war, EU leaders aimed to say on Friday that they remain “committed to providing political and military support to Ukraine… particularly air defense capabilities”.

They must also pledge “continued support to internally displaced persons inside and outside Ukraine” and send mobile heating stations, power generators and power transformers to help people survive the cold.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz lobbied Orban to veto and delay previous EU moves on Russia and Ukraine.

“Anyone who thinks that every member state can undermine the EU’s values ​​by blocking its foreign and security policy will fail,” Scholz said in the Bundestag, Reuters reports.

But sanctions details aside, deeper disagreements among EU powers over how to deal with Putin threaten to spoil the atmosphere at the summit.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland summoned French ambassadors to their capitals earlier this week to file a formal diplomatic complaint against French President Emmanuel Macron’s rapprochement with the Russian president.

On December 3, Macron declared on French television that Europe “must give [security] He guarantees Russia the day he returns to the negotiating table.”

Macron also said in June that the West should not “humiliate” Putin on the battlefield, which had previously sparked outrage in central Europe.

A European diplomat from one of the Eastern European capitals said: “It is Ukraine that needs a security guarantee against Russia, not the other way around.

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