Putin’s daughters are expected to be the target of EU and US sanctions against Russia Russia

The EU and US are expected to announce further sanctions against Russia, with President Vladimir Putin’s daughters under consideration.

A day after Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, gave shocking testimony to the UN about atrocities he described as war crimes, EU diplomats discussed a ban on Russian coal, cessation of transactions with four key banks and a ban on many Russian ships from EU ports later. Wednesday.

Putin’s daughters are expected to be added to the EU’s sanctions list, a person familiar with the list confirms to the Guardian. Their addition to the growing list of people covered by the EU’s asset freeze and travel ban remains to be confirmed by the Union’s 27 member states.

The addition of Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova to the EU sanctions list was first reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, who also reported that women face US sanctions.

Vorontsova, Putin’s eldest daughter, is said to be a specialist in rare diseases in children. Tikhonova, an academic who competed in acrobatic rock-and-roll dance competitions for years, was named in 2020 to run an artificial intelligence institute at Moscow State University, according to reports at the time.

While their inclusion on the EU sanctions list looks assured, tensions rose among EU Member States over energy measures. Lithuania, one of Ukraine’s most loyal allies in the bloc, said the proposals “were not really a sufficient response” to the horrors discovered in Ukrainian cities after the departure of Russian troops.

“Coal, four banks (already revealed), a ban on ports and borders (with exceptions) is not really an appropriate sanction package against the massacres being uncovered,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. “A weak response is just an invitation to more atrocities. It could and should be stronger.”

Lithuania announced on Sunday that it had stopped importing Russian gas, the first EU member state to do so, but the bloc as a whole, which receives 40% of its gas imports from its eastern neighbor, is reluctant to take that step.

The EU accelerated shaky negotiations on further sanctions against Russia and added coal at the last minute, when evidence emerged of alleged war crimes against defenseless civilians in cities controlled by Russian forces.

In a shocking testimony to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Zelenskiy described how people had been shot, tortured, raped and crushed by tanks, and called for Russian leaders to be brought to justice for war crimes via an international court based on the Nuremberg trials. against Nazis. “There is not a single crime that they would not commit there,” he told the assembly. “They killed whole families – adults and children – and they tried to burn the bodies.”

In addition to a ban on coal and Russian ships (with the exception of humanitarian aid, food and energy), the European Commission has proposed a complete ban on transactions with four Russian banks, including the second largest, VTB. However, the EU has cut off VTB from the Swift messaging system, making it much harder to trade with the bank.

According to proposals released by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, Russian and Belarusian road carriers will be banned from joining the EU. The Commission also wants to ban the export of high-tech goods, including quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, to Russia. Certain Russian imports would be banned, including wood, cement, seafood and alcohol products, estimated to be worth 5.5 billion euros to Russia each year.

Von der Leyen’s announcement – the first time EU sanctions have been revealed publicly before their official adoption – has annoyed diplomats, who are not expected to reach an agreement before Thursday, with technical talks scheduled for Wednesday night.

Tensions arose when the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, reported that the bloc had given 35 billion. euros to Putin in payments for fossil fuels since the war began, compared to 1 billion. euros in arms to Ukraine.

If adopted, the measures will be the fifth package of EU sanctions since Vladimir Putin declared he would recognize the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, the basis for the unprovoked invasion he launched days later. While the first four rounds of EU sanctions were adopted relatively quickly, tensions have been rising over the next steps.

Poland and the Baltic countries have called for a total ban on the export of fossil fuels from Russia, while Germany, which gets 55% of its gas from Russia, is concerned about unemployment and hefty petrol prices.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who was congratulated by the Kremlin on his election victory on Monday, is also opposed to a ban on gas and oil. Austria is also seen as lukewarm on the plans. “It is clear that Vienna, Budapest and Berlin are less happy,” said a diplomat from one of the so-called sanctionist countries, which is in favor of a hard line.

Germany supports the coal ban, which will target trade worth 4 billion euros a year to Russia.

The Netherlands, home to the EU’s largest port, Rotterdam, is believed to support the ban on Russian ships. Proponents of strong sanctions also call for the removal of “some strange exceptions” to existing sanctions, such as closing loopholes in previous measures banning the sale of EU luxury goods to Russia.

As a blow to EU unity, Orbán announced that his country “would have no problem” paying for Russian gas in rubles and will do so if Moscow asks.

Germany and Italy, other major EU consumers of Russian gas, have rejected Putin’s request to pay for gas shipments in rubles, although Berlin found a solution that would allow it to pay for gas in euros, which would then be converted into rubles by Russia’s Gazprombank.

Orbán also said he had invited Putin to peace talks in Hungary to be attended by the leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany.

Meanwhile, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced that he was summoning Ukraine’s ambassador, a move that usually indicates a diplomatic disguise. “It is time for the Ukrainian leaders to stop insulting Hungary and take note of the will of the Hungarian people,” said Szijjártó, who was awarded a Medal of Friendship by Vladimir Putin. In recent weeks, Zelenskiy has accused Orbán of siding with the Kremlin and ignoring the humanitarian catastrophe suffered by the people of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities.

In a separate speech to the Spanish parliament on Tuesday, Zelenksiy appealed for a ban on lucrative Russian oil exports. By drawing parallels between the bombing of Guernica in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War and the attack on his country, Zelenskiy said that “the fate of the whole European project, the values ​​that unite us” was at stake in Ukraine.

Russia has denied any responsibility for the deaths, claiming that images were staged or people were killed after their forces withdrew. However, satellite images show corpses lying on the streets of cities under Russian occupation.

In a speech to the European Parliament, the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, approved a proposal to grant asylum to Russian soldiers who do not obey orders, describing it “as a valuable idea that should be pursued”.

EU sanctions are being drafted in coordination with the White House, which has promised a ban on all investment in Russia. “The goal is to force them to make a choice,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “The biggest part of our goal here is to deplete the resources that Putin has to continue his war against Ukraine.”

Leave a Comment