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Brussels wants to impose more sanctions on Russia

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Brussels wants to impose more sanctions on Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, recent sanction on Russia unlikely to be lifted as Western nations were preparing long ago with this idea and it is unlikely to be lifted.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, Brussels continues discussing new anti-Russia sanctions, including an oil embargo, a high-ranking source told reporters Sunday. Since the start of the spec op in Ukraine, the US allies have rolled out several packages of economic, political and financial sanctions and barred Russian goods from entering and crossing the EU territories.

In an interview with TF1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:

“The speed with which they were introduced and their volume indicate that they were not created overnight, they were being prepared for quite a while. It is unlikely that these sanctions will be lifted”.

“At least, the US, not publicly but during contacts with its allies, says that when all this [the crisis in Ukraine] is over the sanctions will remain anyway”, Lavrov added.

Lavrov noted that in the wake of these revelations, it’s clear the West’s main priority is not defending the Ukrainian regime, which he described as a mere “bargaining chip”, but about curbing Russia’s development. According to the top diplomat, the US considers Russia an obstacle to its goal of establishing a unipolar world – a vision “which Washington proclaimed with the submissive consent of Europe”.

“At least the United States is saying, not publicly, but in contacts with its allies, that when the whole thing is over the sanctions will stay in place”, Lavrov noted, adding that they are not about Ukraine, which is used as an instrument, “a bargaining chip”, but about containing Russia.

“It [Russia] is not letting the West to build a unipolar world Washington has proclaimed with Europe’s obedient consent. What will be Europe’s geopolitical benefit from it? I don’t know. Political analysts now say that from the point of view of future perspectives Europe will be the biggest looser”.

“You said both sided are expelling diplomats. We have never expelled anyone. These sanctions, which are more like a hysteria (I would rather say an agony) were initiated by the West. The speed they were imposed with and their scope prove that they were not invented ‘overnight.’ They were planned quite a long ago. And these sanctions are unlikely to be lifted”, he said.

According the Russian Foreign Minister, the West was also indifferent to the fact that Ukraine publicly refused to comply with the UN Security Council resolution urging the implementation of the Minsk Accords signed by France and Germany.

At the same time, Lavrov noted that liberating Donbass remains a top priority.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected rumors of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s worsening health on Sunday.

“President Vladimir Putin makes public appearances on a daily basis. You can see him on TV screens, read and listen to his speeches. I don’t think that a sane person can suspect any signs of an illness or ailment in this man”, he said.

“I’ll leave it on the conscience of those who disseminate such rumors despite daily opportunities for everyone to see how he and others look like”, he told France’s TF1 television.

EU unity on Russia sanctions ‘crumbling’ – Germany

German economy minister warns of waning “unity” in the EU as the bloc is struggling to agree on oil embargo against Russia

The unity the EU demonstrated after Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine is starting to “crumble,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday. The warning comes ahead of the bloc’s summit to discuss a new sanctions package against Moscow and a potential oil embargo.

“After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, we saw what can happen when Europe stands united. With a view to the summit tomorrow, let’s hope it continues like this. But it is already starting to crumble and crumble again”. Habeck told a news conference.

The EU has struggled to agree on imposing the oil embargo on Russia, with multiple member countries voicing concerns that the move would become fatal for their economies. Hungary, which receives most of its oil from Russia, has been the most prominent opponent of the embargo, comparing the potential effect of a full ban to “an atomic bomb”. Similar concerns over the embargo have been voiced by other landlocked nations, namely Czechia and Slovakia.

Earlier this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offered an explanation as to why the EU still continues to buy Russian oil.

“If we would completely, immediately, as of today cut off the [Russian] oil, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin might be able to take the oil that he does not sell to the EU to the world market, where the prices will increase, and sell it for more – and that would fill his war chests”, von der Leyen said in an interview with MSNBC.

The EU diplomats have reportedly tried to come up with a compromise solution to the sanctions deadlock, kick-starting the embargo with banning deliveries of Russian oil by sea while exempting pipelines from the potential restrictions. The attempt, however, has apparently failed, with the EU nations now set to try and agree on the restrictions during the summit scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The EU has imposed multiple packages of sanctions on Russia after it launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine in late February.

Russia attacked the neighboring country following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Serbia secures new gas contract with Russia

Belgrade has agreed a new three-year gas supply contract with Moscow, Serbian president has announced

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday he had agreed a new three-year gas contract with Moscow during phone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Apart from the gas contract, the two presidents also discussed the prospects of expanding gas storage facilities in Serbia, Vucic revealed. The price of gas will be tied to the price of oil, he explained, though he did not give any further detail, adding that these still have to be ironed out with Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom.

“I cannot speak about the price now, all details will be agreed with Gazprom”, Vucic told reporters.

Later in the day, however, the Serbian president provided his estimates on the cost of the gas. “The price for gas will be 100% according to the oil formula, which means from 310 to 408 dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas, that is the price for 2.2 billion cubic meters of gas, convincingly the best price in Europe”, Vucic stated.

Moscow confirmed that gas supply was discussed during talks between Putin and Vucic, but did not provide any concrete details.

“The two leaders had an in-depth discussion on the bilateral agenda including steps to expand mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation, while reaching agreement, in particular, on Russia’s continued provision of uninterrupted supplies of natural gas to Serbia”, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

Belgrade’s current 10-year gas supply contract with Gazprom expires on May 31.

Serbia has enjoyed strong political and economic ties with Russia for years already, yet the relationship between the two nations has been put to the test amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev that broke out in late February. Despite facing mounting pressure from the EU, Belgrade has refused to join anti-Russian sanctions and maintains ties with Moscow.

This stance was reiterated by Vucic at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this week, when the Serbian president confirmed Belgrade would first and foremost continue to pursue its “own interests”.

“Who knows what kind of threats we may face, but as you see, it’s been 90 days and Serbia is standing by its policy, the only country in all of Europe. A small country with people small in numbers but very proud is following its own policy – not pro-Russian, not pro-Western, but its own”, he said.

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Contents published under this byline are those created by the news team of BLiTZ

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