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25 June, 2024
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Bucha atrocities bring about fresh sanctions and deportations

EU member states urged to announce new round of even stronger sanctions against Moscow

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Following the revelations about the atrocities against civilians that took place in Bucha and other areas near Kyiv, the EU is preparing fresh sanctions against Russia to "hit them where it hurts".  It remains to be seen whether the new sanctions will be strong enough to stop Russia's so-called "military operations" in Ukraine.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that new sanctions are "on the way" in response to the atrocities committed by Russian troops in the greater Kyiv region.

Future sanctions could include blocking Russian ships from European ports and imposing restrictions on Russian exports. There is also the possibility of imposing restrictions on Russian coal and oil.

The Commission will present a proposal on Wednesday, 6 April, which will be discussed at the Permanent Representatives level, with decisions to be expected at the EU level if not this week or next.

German Foreign Minister Analena Berbock announced today that Berlin is deporting a number of Russian diplomats and embassy staff, who are now considered unwanted and have a few days to leave the country.  According to the reports from Germany, about 40 people will be deported.

At the same time, the German Foreign Minister noted that other further reactions from Germany and its partners will follow. In the same context, the existing sanctions against Russia are to be further strengthened and tightened.

Deportations (35 in total, as it would later become known) of Russian diplomats were announced by France yesterday, while French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had earlier called for greater financial pressure on Moscow from the international community.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Callas has also called for a new "fifth round of strong EU sanctions against Russia as soon as possible".

It is noted that the sanctions already imposed include the exclusion of seven Russian banks from the SWIFT system, the embargo on exports to Russia of a number of technologies (defense, energy, telecommunications, aviation), the closure of European airspace for Russian airlines, and the freezing of assets of hundreds of Russian oligarchs and officials, including Putin himself.

Coal, oil and European ports

Future sanctions could include measures such as blocking Russian ships from European ports and imposing restrictions on Russian exports.  There is also the possibility of imposing restrictions on Russian coal and oil.  However, the EU will not impose restrictions on Russian gas at this time due to its dependency.

It is worth noting, however, that more people from the EU are calling for a full energy embargo against Russia.  French President Emmanuel Macron today called for sanctions against Russian oil and coal exports, stressing that any new measures would be coordinated between France and its European partners, especially Germany.

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta also spoke of such an energy embargo, with Lithuania on the other hand moving from theory to practice and becoming the first country to cut off Russian gas imports.

It is noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of "war crimes" while calling Russian leader Vladimir Putin a "war criminal".

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