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Monday, May 12, 2014

EU states struggle to find common ground for sanctions on Russia

As we laid out in our Divided We Stand briefing, agreement among the EU 28 on how to respond to Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis is not easy to come by. And if the doorstep remarks of EU Foreign Ministers arriving in Brussels this morning is anything to go by -- that trend won't be changing any time soon.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, urged the EU to begin preparation of broader ('Stage Three') economic sanctions saying:
"I hope...we will continue and intensify our preparations for a third tier of sanctions, and other additional sanctions if the circumstances require it."
He was echoed by Lithuania's Foreign Minister, Linas Antanas Linkevičius, who said that Stage Three sanctions were necessary to send a 'clear signal' to Moscow, adding that unrest in Eastern Ukraine was due to "Russian-sponsored insurgency."

Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, took completely the opposite line arguing that the red line for Stage Three of sanctions had not been reached.
"We should definitely not, at this point, move to Stage Three [of sanctions]...We are definitely not on Stage Three of economic sanctions, and in my opinion, this is good."
On where the red line would be to step up the EU's response, Kurz argued:
"[The EU agreed that] the third step of sanctions would be unleashed if Russian troops moved into Ukraine...economic sanctions would not just hurt Russia, but they would definitely hurt us too...If we went a stage further on sanctions with every provocation, then we would already be at war."
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn found himself somewhere between the two, although he remained very cautious on sanctions:
"The referendum has no legal basis so we can’t burn too much energy on this… President Putin clearly spoke out last week that the referenda should be delayed…So we will see. I think Russia is starting to think about what the big problems will be… I think Russia will return from the brink. We will not have the sanctions as the main point today."
Once again then, as Russia essentially endorses the result in the self-rule referendum in Eastern Ukraine, the EU struggles to find a clear line on how, if at all, to respond to recent events.


Rik said...

The EU has now waisted 2 good chances to get out of this with little egg on their faces because of a completely mismanaged advanture.
This looks to be a third one that will be waisted. You donot keep lucky.

Anonymous said...

This cannot be mismanagement on the EU's part. Nobody could be that stupid. This must be deliberate. There is no balanced reporting from the western mainstream media. The fact that a Ukranian politician told a crowd of Ukranians at a memorial service last week that 'Hitler was a liberator'. The fact that there are 400 Blackwater mercenaries on operation supporting the Kiev interim far right government. The fact that the EU has said that they want to control all countries left of the Russian flank and that if the 'people don't want it, we do it anyway'.

Jesper said...

Civil war is when a country's military moves against its civilian population. There seems to be a civil war going on.

Maybe a no-fly zone is to be established to protect the civilian population?

Maybe bombing of military vehicles approaching civilians can be done?

Maybe the leader who ordered military to be used against the civilian population could be charged with crimes against humanity?

Or maybe, just maybe the situation could benefit from some cooling down?

Let the people of Ukraine sort this one out. The territorial integrity was set aside not long ago when it came to Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was split and both new nations joined the EU. Is the non-joining of the EU the difference that makes territorial integrity sacrosanct?

Jesper said...

And another take on the soft power:

Jesper said...

& Biden's Son Joins Board of Ukraine Gas Producer:

It is said that to do business in Russia it is needed to have strong connections, otherwise customers will not pay. Ukraine isn't much better. Will this Ukrainian company get paid?

Anonymous said...

If Putin succeeds with his lies, armed thuggery and subversion in the Ukraine, then the Baltic States will be next. It seems extraordinary that so much of the UK media, especially the BBC, are so naive in their reporting of this conflict.

The evidence from on-the-spot reporters confirm that Putin has supplied modern weapons to pro-Russian protesters. You can't shoot down 3 helicopters with an air-gun. He has sent in special forces and paid agitators to occupy public buildings - all in an attempt to provoke an asymmetric armed response from Kiev, and hence a pretext for invasion. The UN found no evidence at all that the ethnic Russians in Ukraine were under any threat from Kiev. The entire crisis is predicated on a lie propagated by Russian state-controlled media. Putin knows that with his annexation of Crimea, there are now insufficient ethnic Russians in the rest of Ukraine to return a pro-Russian and compliant president like Yanukovych. Putin may have won Crimea but he has lost the Ukraine. He will do all he can to prevent a free and fair election on 25 May.

The tactics of "attack from within" worked in the Crimea. When will the West and the EU wake up? If Putin is not stopped now, he will have to be stopped later, and the resulting conflict will be an order of magnitude worst, if not catastrophic.