Ukraine wants the EU to quickly draw up a package of sanctions to apply against Russia if the Kremlin chooses to step up military aggression against Kyiv.
The appeal comes amid concerns about President Vladimir Putin’s intentions and the growing presence of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.
“If you at least establish or prolong a serious package of sanctions and you let Russia know this will happen then that will deter Russia,” said Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister.
“At this point, our partners maintain a constructively ambiguous approach, they say that the consequences for Russia will be severe and unprecedented and so far, with leaders etc. EU.
Rising tensions at Ukraine’s border with Russia are being discussed by EU heads of state in Brussels on Thursday. So far it is not clear how far they are willing to go to address Russia’s military activity, but some EU leaders share Ukraine’s view that a sanctions package should be developed soon.
In fact, some European capitals have even suggested that Nord Stream 2, the controversial gas pipeline that passes through places like Ukraine and Poland, should be included on a potential sanctions list against Russia.
“I think we will raise this issue because it is one of the tools that can be very powerful in relations with Russia,” said Gitanas Nauseda, President of Lithuania, upon arrival in Brussels on Nord Stream 2.
This energy project aims to bring gas into Europe from Russia to Germany. However, the pipeline has yet to receive full regulatory approval and has been embroiled in political controversy.
On the other hand, some politicians, especially in Germany, see the project as an economic problem. Critics of the pipeline, however, argue that it increases Europe’s dependence on Russia.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said that Nord Stream 2 will not be allowed to operate if there is further Russian aggression towards Ukraine.
Putin had previously pressured EU officials to approve the project, saying it was an easy solution to reduce energy costs in the region.
A Kremlin spokesman on Thursday said Nord Stream 2 is in the interests of Russia and Germany, Reuters reported.
“The important thing is that we can also decide that Nord Stream 2 is on the table [in terms of sanctions]”Arturs Karins, prime minister of Latvia, also spoke in Brussels.
“If there is a high level of military activity, this project will be shut down,” Karins added
However, not everyone agrees. Prime Minister Sanna Marin told CNBC that “it is important to keep energy policy out of conflict.”
The divergent views highlight the difficulty for EU leaders in finding common ground on how to address aggression from Russia.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said that “military concentration” taking place close to Ukraine’s border was “unusual for conventional military exercises.”
“There is no doubt that Russia is using military power to exert pressure,” he told CNBC.
Meanwhile, some EU leaders argue that dialogue with Russia is needed to prevent any further escalation.
“I really believe … we also need to talk to Russia,” Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s prime minister, told CNBC.
He added that the format of these talks doesn’t matter as long as they are effective.
Maybe France and Germany approached Moscow and Kyiv in the hope of finding a solution. It is unlikely that these negotiations cover the entire EU in the short term.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/16/eu-leaders-say-nord-stream-2-should-feature-in-sanctions-against-russia.html EU leaders think Nord Stream 2 should have sanctions against Russia