The EU and the U.S. cannot agree on new sanctions against Russia

The EU and the U.S. cannot agree on new sanctions against Russia
EU countries don't agree on new sanctions against Russia
Photo: European Council

Today, the higher body of the European Union - the Council of Europe, which consists of the presidents and heads of governments of EU member countries, will hold a meeting in Brussels. It is planned that leaders of the EU will review and discuss the situation in the Donbas region and the issue of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, which the Ukrainian leadership is insisting on.

However, official Kyiv does not believe that the West will strengthen economic pressure on Moscow in the nearest future and for this very reason is forced to prepare for talks with opponents of the central government.

Murky prospects

President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy promised in a conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to raise the Ukrainian issue at the meeting. Ukraine is insisting on review of the issue of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, which the heads of governments of the EU promised to do on June 27 if Moscow did not try to regulate the situation in Donbas. “Aggravation of the situation in Donbas and proof of the complicity of Russia in the activity of militants give even more grounds for the imposition of the third level of tougher sanctions to counteract Russian aggression,” Acting Director of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vasyl Zvarych commented on Ukraine’s expectations from the meeting of the European Council.

EU countries and the U.S. are requested to impose the third stage of sanctions. As Bloomberg informed, on Monday a closed meeting was held between U.S. President Barack Obama and ambassadors of EU member countries at which the American leader stated the need to toughen measures against Russia and once again called on Brussels to cooperate with Washington.

“Unfortunately, tough measures will not be imposed. Europe does not want to lose its economic edge and by imposing sanctions against Russia it stands to lose a lot,” ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko shared with Capital his skeptical forecast of the results of the current meeting of the EU. He also presumes that Washington will not unilaterally announce the imposition of new sanctions. “They will only be successful if they will be done jointly. The U.S. understands this and for this reason is unlikely to independently toughen sanctions,” the ex-minister believes.

Director of the Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Oleksandr Sushko also does not expect sanctions to be imposed after the meeting of the EU leaders. “Although, it cannot be ruled out that a deferred decision will be adopted. That means that sanctions will be imposed as of a certain date if Russia does not take specific steps,” an expert of Capital prognosticated.

Sushko said the strong ties of a number of EU member countries with Russia are putting the brakes on applying additional pressure on Russia. He believes the EU will continue to insist on direct talks on the self-proclaimed republics upon the initiative of Germany.

Compulsion to negotiate

Preparation for the meeting of the negotiating group in the form of a video-conference continued all day yesterday. As a reminder, within the framework of the contact group two rounds have been held, which ended with no results. A source of Capital inside the circle of the leader of the Ukrainian Choice party Viktor Medvedchuk, who was an intermediary at the previous meetings, assured that Leonid Kuchma will represent Ukraine as earlier.

“There cannot be any new people in this process because then we would have to start from scratch,” the source noted. He said that so far the composite of participants on the side of the unrecognized republics remains unclear. Also, it is not known whether the leader of the LPR Valeriy Bolotov will participate in the video-conference or will he be replaced by Oleksiy Karyakin. The source says Medvedchuk and people’s deputy Nestor Shufrych are “taking an active position in the organization of the negotiating process”, but did not specify whether they will personally participate in the video-conference.

The only topic of the negotiations will be the possibility of seizing fire. In any case, the OSCE monitoring mission must observe how this regime will be executed. Nevertheless, Ohryzko does not believe that the participation of OSCE observers can ensure full control over the situation in Donbas and presupposes that Russia will in any case try to continue its actions against Kyiv circumventing the points of observation. At the time this issue went to print the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security and Defense Council told the publication that they knew nothing about the results of the negotiating process.

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