‘More a whimper than a bang’ EU chief squirms in probe over ‘weakish’ Russia sanctions

Ukraine: EU chief squirms in probe over 'weak-ish' Russian ban

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Roberta Metsola, Maltese politician and long-serving member of the European Parliament defended accusations that the EU was failing in its attempts to help Ukraine. The European Parliament President argued they had shown an “unprecedented” amount of support and “unity” in providing sanctions and arms. But Metsola was quick to add that “we need to be ready” to do more in the next crucial days of the war.

Speaking to DW News, Metsola was asked by the host: “Does the European Union do enough? How can more be done?

“If we look at the next sanctions package, for example, it seems weakish, more of a whimper than a bang.

“In that regard, it seems there’s not enough unity. But with giving arms, giving money, and giving more factual help, do you think that could be done?”

Metsola offered a response of two halves, praising the work of the Union thus far but acknowledging more needed to be done.

She said: “I am in a parliament where a huge, unprecedented number of members have in unity reached steps that I thought it would never achieve.

“For example, welcoming the candidate status of Ukraine into the European Union, calling for a quick removal of Russia from the swift system, going for the first and second package of sanctions and financial assistance that we have voted on with lightning speed.

“But I think we need to go much further still. I think these days are crucial. This week is crucial in order to make sure the Ukrainians continue to have the possibility to fight.

“They are fighting not only for their country, they are fighting for Europe. When they ask for more equipment, we need to be ready to give them more equipment.

“And when they ask for the strongest of political messages that the EU should not want to remain dependent on Russian oil, coal, and also gas, we need to be ready to say that.”

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The EU came under intense scrutiny on Tuesday after it announced another package of sanctions on Russia that failed to address its reliance on Russian crude oil.

The Union said Russian coal deliveries worth around £3.3 billion a year will be phased out of the bloc’s energy imports.

They also issued further financial bans on four key Russian banks and have now prohibited Russian vehicles and trucks from entering the EU.

But Russian profits from its oil sales to the EU are roughly ten times that of coal and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been vocal about the importance of the EU at least reducing their continued reliance on oil imports.

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Latvia’s prime minister, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, was among the first EU member states to suggest energy sanctions were a “serious option” for them to look at, starting with oil and coal.

He said: “Energy sanctions immediately are a way to stop money flowing into Putin’s coffers.

“Every day that we delay sanctioning Russia’s economy, Russia maintains the ability to feed its military machine.”

The UK said yesterday that it would cut all oil and coal imports from Russia by the end of the year, though their reliance on these imports is considerably lower than European countries on the whole.

 

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