Like Ukraine buckling under the brutal Russian aggressionspark worst military bloodshed above European territory Since the end of World War II, European leaders have been haggling over sanctions, to ensure that toughening won’t hurt their economies too much in the process. .
Hour after the invasion started on Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised “major” sanctions that would cripple Russia’s financial position. But it is clear that Russia’s incentives are deeply rooted in Europe’s strongest economies, and punishing Putin will come at a heavy cost. Italy asked for the exclusion of luxury goods loved by Russian oligarchs, Germany pushed for waivers for the energy sector before stopping Nord Stream 2 certification but on Thursday refused to agree. block Russia from the SWIFT banking payment system. Other countries, including Hungary, are working hard to keep the toughest sanctions on the table.
Former European Council President Donald Tusk posted a tweet expressing anger at European leaders, who have so far blocked the sanctions. “In this war everything is real: the madness and cruelty of Putin, the Ukrainian victim, the bombs falling on Kyiv,” he wrote on Friday. “Only your sanctions are pretense. The EU governments that have blocked the hard decisions (i.e. Germany, Hungary, Italy) have discredited themselves”.
After talks failed to deliver the promised “major sanctions” on Thursday, European leaders will return to the negotiating table on Friday, potentially adopting a more conservative approach. called a “incrementalist” approach even when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told them he might not speak. for them again because the Russian special forces are out to assassinate him. “He told us he didn’t know if he could talk to us another time so it was very difficult,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said on Friday, according to Reuters. “We have to know how serious the situation in Ukraine is.”
On Friday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters he feared for the Ukrainian leader. “Zelenskyi told us he was hiding somewhere and Ukraine didn’t have time,” Draghi said in a statement. tweet by a reporter. “He was supposed to be on a phone call at 9:30 a.m. but he couldn’t come.”
Among the exclusions that many European leaders want to “continue” are visa-free travel to Europe for Russian diplomats and anything that could make it difficult for countries to pay. money for Russian energy.
The leaders, speaking at the end of their talks on Thursday, acknowledged punishing Putin was proving difficult. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters that “more work needs to be done to assess what would happen if Russia is cut off” in regards to preventing Russia from using SWIFT, as has been suggested by most most of the G7 leaders outside of Europe.
Some of the sanctions that are likely to pass include restricting Russia’s access to certain European financial services, banning the sale of equipment to Russian refineries and blocking the sale of Russian aircraft. Europe for Russian airlines. Additionally, they are also targeting specific tycoons, like those who own property in Italy, Malta and Spain — and their superyachts have mostly disappeared suspiciously. from ports in Sardinia and elsewhere, potentially anchoring in friendlier waters.
An unnamed EU diplomat expressed frustration with his colleagues to the Financial Times. “The question is, what are we expecting from other sanctions?” he say. “If we can’t make Swift, can’t we at least not be late to the oligarchs?”