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The EU foreign ministers met in Brussels today with calls from the US, UK and The Netherlands for the imposition of more aggressive sanctions against Russia.

E.U. imposes new sanctions on Russian officials, stops short of tougher penalties

The European Union agreed Tuesday to expand a list of Russian entities and individuals subject to asset freezes and travel bans and threatened to target vast sectors of the Russian economy if Moscow did not act swiftly to rein in rebels believed to have shot downing a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine.

But E.U. foreign ministers meeting in Brussels stopped well short of immediately carrying out vows in some countries to jump quickly to so-called “phase three sanctions” that could cripple the Russian economy. Rather, they agreed to prepare by Thursday a list of possible options, including a potential arms embargo, limits on dual-technology sales, and, more importantly, measures targeting the energy and financial sectors. Such measures could be imposed later only if Russia does not force pro-Moscow separatists to grant unfettered access to the crash site and fulfill its pledge to cooperate with an international investigation.

The ministers agreed to draft a new set of names by Thursday to be added to the 63 individuals and entities already targeted by the Europeans for destabilizing Ukraine. While the United States has sanctioned multiple officials in Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s inner circle, as well as major Russian companies, Europe so far has avoided taking such a confrontational stance. The action Tuesday suggested that the Europeans are now preparing to follow suit and hit those close to Putin harder.

The problem with the EU is that people there like most every where else are quite willing for other people to take a stand on principle as long as it doesn't hit them in the pocketbook. President Hollande is willing to join the call to get tough on Putin as long as the conversation is limited to generalities. However, France has contracts to deliver two warships to Russia. He thinks that it would unreasonable to impose an arms embargo that would get in the way of that. One ship is ready for delivery and Russian sailors are in France undergoing training in its operation.

What everybody hopes is that threats alone will be sufficient to bring Putin to heel. The wild card in these negotiations is China. They have sufficient financial resources to enable them to go a long way toward cushioning the Russian economy from blows coming from western sanctions. They appear to be playing a waiting game.

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Comment Preferences

  •  china (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    is smiling.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 11:00:56 AM PDT

  •  Strategic Oil Reserves & Political Timing (0+ / 0-)

    I have read that even a small amount of oil released from the Strategic Oil Reserve will drop the price of oil rather quickly and damage Russian cash-flow.

    If I were President Obama, I would time the release of small quantities of oil from the Strategic Reserves just in time to make consumers feel better on Election Day.

    And before folks say, "But those reserves are for emergencies and times of war," I'd suggest that preventing war and effectively adding a sanction against Russia is quite strategic in nature.

  •  I hate to say it, but the French are acting like (0+ / 0-)

    cheese-eating, surrender monkeys. Maybe the EU needs to adopt English as its official language.

    •  is already (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we have five working languages. I think. I have forgotten all of them.

      Now if you had said "single" language, you´d be looking at revolution :)

      •  Yeah. You can't edit Dailykos posts. otherwise I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        would have put in "single." Anyway, the French still haven't become reconciled to losing out to English since at least the conclusion of the French and Indian War/ Seven Years War. A key to me is their periodic fetish with "language purification', getting all those icky foreign words redone in French French, as opposed to English flexibility. For example, one time in the U.K. I picked up fun phrasebooks of
        Australian-English  English-Australian
        Scottish-English  English-Scottish
        American-English  English-American (I can't find the last one in my library---rats).

        (fun reads).

  •  I have been reading the propaganda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on both sides.  

    The corporate MSM Western media is hopelessly biased.  

    •  Yet all the links you have been posting are to (0+ / 0-)

      Russia Today, home of massive conspiracy theories and propaganda that would make even Fox News blush.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:42:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Notes: There are 72, not 63, individuals and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, DavidMS

    entities sanctioned so far. I can give the whole list if you want it.

    "The problem with the EU is . . ." they pass the hot potato while you pass it back to them. That's seriously funny.

    François Hollande: "He thinks . . ." If you know what he thinks, everyone in France today wants to know if he really proposed to the actress, Julie Gayet. He was in a long-term domestic relationship with Ségolène Royal who is the mother of his 4 children and a prominent politician at the national level, currently Minister of Ecology and the Environment in Hollande's cabinet. He never married Royal or anyone else so there's a lot of attention on Gayet right now.

    The organized Left in France opposes selling arms to Russia which is very visibly allied with the Front National and its rightwing extremist counterparts elsewhere.  The Left is also a unified single policy advocate for Europe and wants a 28 member binding agreement on arms sales.

    The contract for the first Mistral was signed in 2011 and payment was made at that time. €1.1 B would have to be reimbursed to Russia. The US doesn't have a soap box to stand on when it isn't clear whether it stopped buying helicopters from Russia via Rosoboronexport or simply bills them at NATO for delivery to Afghanistan.

  •  EU must love the fireworks (0+ / 0-)

    Without more serious sanctions Putin has no reason to quit trying his luck and Willy Wonka has no reason to suspend his ATO. It seems this won't end until Ukraine routs the last of the militias.

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