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Ukraine, EU arms in Kiev but no decision on Russia oil sanctions

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The European Union takes its time and seems resigned to letting Ukraine be the only weapons to speak. New sanctions that also affect the import of oil from Russia, to hinder the war in Ukraine, are “discussed” by foreign ministers, but “no decision has been made”. After all, “common sense” says so: the Russians are about to launch a massive offensive in the Donbass and the war “which will develop in the next few days and weeks will happen the same, with or without sanctions”, because the Russian army “it will have the means to do the same”, even if the EU cuts off all imports of gas and oil tomorrow. EU High Representative Josep Borrell did not mince words in Luxembourg after the Foreign Affairs Council, dominated by the Ukraine theme. Read also On the advisability of touching oil imports, which according to Borrell are worth four times those of gas and are more easily replaceable, there is no unanimity among Member States: those most dependent on Russian hydrocarbons, such as Germany, are holding back. they fear causing a recession that could be very hard for economies that are recovering from the collapse caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. If Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney can say that the sooner sanctions on Russian oil “the better” are decided, it is also because Ireland has minimal dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, at 2.7% considering coal, gas and oil (data Le Grand Continent). However, Coveney points out, the unity of the 27 must be preserved. Other countries, such as Germany, are very differently dependent on Russian gas. And the German minister Annalena Baerbock, of the Greens, says that Europe will certainly come out of fossil fuels, but with an EU plan. So, not in the short term. And therefore, given that sanctions, even the toughest ones, cannot stop the Russians anytime soon, the EU’s priority is to help Ukraine militarily, so that it can withstand the offensive that Moscow is preparing to launch in the Donbass, where the troops will not have to “stray from their logistical bases,” notes Borrell. Because when it had to lengthen the supply lines, the Russian army “failed”, as around Kiev, which it failed to take: “I’ve been there, I’ve seen the carcasses of Russian tanks,” says Borrell, veteran from a visit to the Ukrainian capital with Ursula Von der Leyen. Meanwhile, Chancellor Karl Nehammer, at the head of a country, Austria, which is a member of the EU but not of NATO and which traditionally has good relations with Moscow, saw President Vladimir Putin, in a meeting that was not ” friendly “and that doesn’t bode well. Nehammer also predicted a “massive” attack in eastern Ukraine by Russian troops in the battle of Donbass which, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week, “will remind you of the battles of World War II”. Everything suggests a not very peaceful (Catholic) Easter. “We will help the Ukrainians to face this battle,” promises Borrell. Meanwhile, this week the Finnish Parliament begins to discuss the White Paper that the government has prepared on the country’s possible accession to NATO. Helsinki could ask for it together with Stockholm, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said today.

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