Monday, March 4, 2024
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EU nations start talks on new Russia sanctions, no quick deal in sight

By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU nations discussed for the first time on Wednesday proposed new sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine that would target Chinese and Iranian companies And allow export restrictions to third countries to undermine trade restrictions.

Talks between EU envoys are set to intensify, according to a diplomat, with Russian hawks saying the plan doesn’t go far enough, but others fearing damage to their international ties .

Several diplomats said the wide divergence of views meant a deal was not expected soon.

The EU chief unveiled the plan on Tuesday during a symbolic trip to Kiev – a counterbalance to the annual celebration of Moscow’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, where President Putin Compare it to invading Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the new sanctions would focus on circumventing Russia’s trade restrictions and “in close coordination” with the G7.

“If we see goods being shipped from the EU to a third country and then end up in Russia, we can propose to member states to sanction the export of these goods. This tool will be a last resort and will be used with caution,” she said.

She added that the EU would stop transshipping more exports through Russia, including advanced technology products and aircraft parts.

A diplomatic source familiar with the proposal – drafter von der Leyen’s committee – said it also included the blacklisting of “dozens” of new companies, including those from China, Iran, Kazakhstan companies in stan and uzbekistan.

The new sanctions will emphasize tankers not being allowed to arrive in ports on high seas or with their GPS trackers turned off, according to sources, in an attempt to counter G7 flouting restrictions on Russian oil trade.

Part of the push is related to growing concerns, particularly in Spain, of the growing risk of spills as the fleet of “ghost” ships transporting Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan oil grows.

“Unfortunately, the new EU measures will do nothing to solve the problem of older, uninsured vessels performing STS (ship-to-ship transfer) outside the EU,” said commodities trader Trafigura . Olivi gave the example of last week’s fire on an oil tanker in waters off Malaysia that had no known insurance.

“EU should put pressure on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt stricter safety and insurance measures for older ships.”

No prompt Agreement reached

All EU countries must agree to new sanctions to take effect, which will be EU’s 4th round of such measures since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 550.

It would mark the first time the bloc has pointed the finger at China for accusing Beijing of its role in the war, something China’s Foreign Ministry has warned the EU against.

A diplomatic source from an EU country hawkish on Russia was frustrated that the committee’s proposals did not include a halt to Russian diamond imports or nuclear energy cooperation.

The trade loss from the proposal is estimated to be as high as 27 million euros (27 compared to von, the person said in millions of dollars) der Leyen indicated that billion euros was reached in the last round.

At the other end of the debate, diplomatic sources from countries critical of the sanctions said the proposal to target third countries was bound to spark a heated discussion.

($1=0.9084 Euro)

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