Economic pressure on Russia will increase in the coming days. The European Union plans to adopt a fifth package of sanctions in the wake of the shock wave triggered by the discovery of massacre scenes in Boutcha, a suburb of Kyiv. expression of his “Outrage at crimes against humanity, against innocent civilians in Boutcha and many other cities,” the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, estimated before the MEPs in Strasbourg that it was “d”further proof that Russian brutality against the Ukrainian people knows no bounds”. “We have to increase the pressure on Putin and the Russian government again.”said the President of the European Executive, Ursula von der Leyen, on Wednesday as EU officials discussed new measures against Russia.
In particular, the European Commission on Tuesday proposed to the Twenty-Seven to end their purchases of Russian coal, which accounts for 45% of EU imports. A few days ago it was a decision that was far from certain, but the discovery of images of killed civilians and mass graves in Ukraine has clearly shifted the lines and that action now appears to be unanimous 27. Another planned decision is the to ban access to European Union ports for Russian ships, but with some exceptions for the transport of food or humanitarian aid. The EU should also sanction four more banks and ban the export of a number of strategic products. But Charles Michel wants to go further. “I think that sooner or later action will be needed in relation to oil and even gas“, positioned the Belgian official.
However, a possible embargo on oil (25% of European purchases) and gas (45% of EU imports) is still the subject of bitter discussions between member states, with Berlin having expressed reluctance. Germany cannot do without Russian gas supplies”in the short term” and sanctions against Moscow in this area would harm the EU more than Russia, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Monday. Our penalties”are relevant because they hit Russia much harder than us”said German-born Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the plenary hall during a meeting of European foreign ministers next Monday to validate these measures.
But in Ukraine, President Zelenskyy denounced “the iDecision” Europeans as people in Donbass are racing against time amid fears of an impending massive attack by Russian forces. Russian troops being transferred to the east of the country after leaving the Kyiv region, leaving behind dead civilians and mass graves.
So what cards does the EU have to increase its pressure on Vladimir Putin? What is the situation in Boutcha and the region? What’s going on in Donbass? Finally, what happened in Moura, that small town in central Mali that was under siege between March 27 and 31, where at least 300 civilians were killed, according to Human Rights Watch? Does this massacre bear the signature of Russia, represented in the country by Wagner’s mercenaries?
-Benjamin HaddadPolitical scientist, European director of the Atlantic Council think tank
– armelle CharierInternational Politics Columnist – France 24
– Maria DumoulinDirector of the program “Wider Europe” – ECFR (European Council of Foreign Relations)