The energy embargo was the main punitive option that Brussels had, says Virginijus Sinkevicius
The EU’s economic restrictions against Russia have exhausted themselves and there’s nothing new the bloc can come up with, the union’s environment commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevicius, told the Lithuanian radio station Ziniu radijas on Thursday.
Brussels has so far adopted nine rounds of sanctions that have affected various sectors of the Russian economy and targeted many businessmen, politicians, and journalists. The latest measures, which were announced last Friday, introduced a number of export bans, and extended restrictions to include three more banks. A further 168 Russian entities came under export restrictions, bringing the total number of sanctioned companies to 410.
“I have been saying for a long time that the sanctions have reached their ceiling, and there’s nothing new in these restrictions,” Sinkevicius suggested.
According to the official, the EU’s embargo on Russian gas supply is one of the most important measures the bloc could make.
“I think the biggest step has been taken in terms of energy, the reduction of the Russian supply to just under 9% of the 40% gas mix in the European Union. That will only increase the pressure [on Russia],” Sinkevicius said.
Many economists and politicians, however, have been arguing that the embargos have harmed the West more than Moscow.
Hungarian President Viktor Orban has accused the EU leadership of sparking the ongoing energy crisis by introducing “counterproductive” sanctions on Russian energy. Budapest has repeatedly called for “the failed policy of Brussels” to be changed, noting that the sanctions “didn’t fulfill the hopes that were pinned on them,” while Europe is “slowly bleeding.”
President Vladimir Putin has likened the bloc’s attempts to cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels to economic “suicide.”
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December 22, 2022 at 06:18PM