May 18, 2022

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EU bans Russian coal in new sanctions after Bucha massacre in Ukraine

EU bans Russian coal in new sanctions after Bucha massacre in Ukraine

The European Commission is proposing a ban on Russian coal – not oil or gas – as part of a new package of sanctions in response to possible war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the latest sanctions package seeks to ban imports of Russian coal, impose sanctions on four Russian banks, and ban Russian ships from EU ports, among other measures. EU ambassadors will discuss the proposal on Wednesday.

“These atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered,” said von der Leyen. “It is important to bear the maximum pressure [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russian government are at this critical juncture.

The package does not meet demands for a ban on Russian oil or natural gas, and calls for the EU to do more are unlikely to subside.

To avoid “new bots”, impose the mother of all penaltiesUkrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Tuesday: Stop buying oil, gas and coal from Russia. “Stop funding Putin’s war machine.”

This is the EU’s first step to block Russian energy imports since the invasion. Simon Tagliabitra, senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank, said the reason the committee was proposing coal, not oil or gas, was “likely because it is easier to replace”.

The European Union is already pushing to get rid of Coal to meet climate change targets.

In 2020, the bloc imported just under 20 percent of its coal from Russia, compared to about 35 percent of its oil and 40 percent of its natural gas, according to the European Union’s statistics office.

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The European Union imports about 15 million euros from Russia daily [$16.38 million] of coal, about 400 million euros [$436.84 million] Gas and 450 million euros [$491.44 million] Tagliopetra said. “Coal ban won’t hit Russia.”

Von der Leyen suggested on Tuesday that oil could be next but did not offer a specific plan or timetable. “We are working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports,” she said.

On Tuesday, the commission said a ban on coal imports from Russia would cost the country $4 billion a year, reducing “another important source of income for Russia”. Some states may push to modify the plan, however, in favor of phasing out Russian coal.

Bukha massacre tests Europe’s red lines on Russian energy

In addition to targeting coal, the package aims to “weaken Russia’s financial system” by cutting off four banks and imposing export bans on items such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors “to further deteriorate Russia’s technological and industrial base,” according to AFP. statment.

The commission’s proposal also seeks to block entry of most Russian ships and trucks from the EU “to significantly reduce the options available to Russian industry for access to basic goods”. Additional penalties will also be imposed on the individuals, although their names have not yet been released.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Union has worked with the United States and others to impose sanctions on Russia with the aim of isolating Moscow and weakening the war effort.

Although the next round of sanctions has been in the pipeline for some time, reports of possible war crimes have prompted the European Union to press ahead with energy, starting with coal.

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“Today we are presenting a proposal for further sanctions to further disrupt Putin’s war machine in the wake of the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in Bucha and elsewhere under Russian occupation in Ukraine,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat.

The European Union is united in its anger Russian atrocities in UkraineBut she is deeply divided over what to do next, especially when it comes to energy.

Ukraine and some European Union leaders have urged the bloc to impose a complete ban, but major EU economies have backed down, arguing that the cost to Europe will be prohibitive.

The shocking images of Bosha added to the pressure to act. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that indications of “war crimes” in Ukraine warranted the imposition of new sanctions. The Elysee later said that France would support an embargo on Russian oil and coal – not natural gas.

Neither Germany nor Austria wants a gas embargo. Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said on Monday that the EU should “keep calm” despite the measures in Bucha. He said the sanctions “should not affect us more than Russia.”

“That’s why we, along with Germany, are so hesitant about the gas ban,” he said.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, said the commission’s latest proposal “is not actually an appropriate sanctions package for the massacres that are being revealed”.

“The weak response is just an invitation for more atrocities,” he said chirp Tuesday. “It can and should be stronger.”