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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

New EU sanctions on Russia not ready – Borrell

The EU foreign policy chief says there is no agreement on a ninth package of restrictions ahead of a ministerial meeting

Members of the EU have yet to find common ground on the latest proposed package of sanctions on Russia ahead of a ministerial meeting, where a vote on the restrictions is to take place, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said.

Foreign ministers of the bloc are convening in Brussels on Monday for their last scheduled meeting this year to discuss, among other things, the ninth round of economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

The meeting will be “very long and difficult” because of its agenda, Borrell told journalists as he arrived at the event, adding that there were “questions to be agreed” about the European Commission’s proposal.

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“We are still not there,” he said. “The proposal has been discussed, and I thought this morning we were able to say ‘greenlight.’ It is still not the case.”

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European media has claimed that Hungary, a vocal critic of Brussels’ approach to the Ukraine conflict, is against the new measures. The commission seeks to add some 200 entities to its blacklist and target the Russian minerals extraction sector, its president, Ursula von der Leyen, said last week as she announced the initiative.

EU ministers will also discuss imposing new sanctions against Iran, both for its response to mass protests in the country and for alleged supply of weapons to Russia, Borrell said.

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Iran and Russia have denied claims by Western and Ukrainian officials that Moscow is buying drones from Tehran to attack Ukraine, and that it has plans to procure Iranian tactical ballistic missiles for the same purpose.

The Iranian government has faced months-long protests after a woman arrested for allegedly wearing an “improper” hijab died in police custody in September.Demonstrators claim Mahsa Amini was beaten to death, while Iranian authorities state she died from a pre-existing medical condition.
Tehran says more than 200 people have been killed in clashes between rioters and law enforcement during the protests, and have accused Western nations of inciting the violence.

December 12, 2022 at 03:31PM
RT

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