Poland and Baltic states push for harsher EU sanctions against Russia – Financial Times – 23.09.22

Hawks want more Russian banks forced off Swift system and a ban on diamond imports following Putin’s escalation.

Article by Sam Fleming, Henry Foy and Andy Bounds in Brussels

Hawkish EU member states are pushing for hard-hitting measures against Russia, including ejecting more banks from the Swift messaging network and banning diamond imports, as the bloc drafts a new round of sanctions over the Ukraine war.

Countries including Poland and the Baltic states are demanding the new measures — which would also target luxury goods and Russia’s IT, cyber security and software industries — in response to Vladimir Putin’s military escalation this week.

However, officials said it would be difficult to find consensus among all 27 member states, while Hungary has said it does not want any new sanctions at all.

The main goal of the European Commission is to push through a hard-fought G7 agreement to cap the price of Russian oil following months of US-led negotiations.

Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that new sanctions were needed to respond to Russia’s decision to begin a partial mobilisation and initiate moves to annex parts of eastern Ukraine. But some officials think it will be difficult to get anything more than a limited set of penalties past all EU member states.

A potential new set of penalties, which would be the eighth round of sanctions, has yet to be formally tabled after meetings between commission officials and representatives of member states beginning on Friday. It is expected to contain legislation to implement the cap on the price of Russian crude, more listings of sanctioned individuals and measures targeting Russia’s IT, cyber security and software industries, officials said.

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The EU is seeking to respond to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to call up reserves and threaten nuclear warfare © Ilya Pitalev/Kremlin/AP

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