BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union appears determined to respond to renewed Russian efforts to annex parts of Ukraine with more sanctions, but consensus among member states is becoming increasingly difficult as they The measures are aimed at punishing Moscow for cutting into their own economies.

The 27-nation bloc has imposed six rounds of sanctions on Russia since President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine on February 24. Banks, companies and markets have been affected – even parts of the sensitive energy sector – and more than 1,200 workers have been injured. Targeted with asset freezes and travel bans.


What might have taken years to agree in the past was achieved in just three months — relatively light speed for the EU. But European economies already battered by the COVID-19 pandemic are now battling high inflation with skyrocketing electricity and natural gas prices.

The trigger for the EU to act again was the announcement that Russian-controlled areas in eastern and southern Ukraine intended to hold a referendum on becoming part of Russia. This could allow Moscow to escalate the war, especially after Putin’s decision to call up 300,000 military reservists.


EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday that “Russia, its political leadership, and those involved in the conduct of these ‘referenda’, as well as other violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine will be held accountable.

“We will work with our partners to take additional sanctions measures against Russia as soon as possible,” he said in a statement after chairing an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. will be brought forward.”


But political pronouncements by Brussels-based officials are the easy part. Agreeing on new measures has proved extremely difficult. Energy interests are particularly difficult to control. Hungary has resisted sanctions that could affect its supplies from Russia, but it is not alone in its reluctance.

The latest round of sanctions was announced on May 4, but was agreed only four weeks later, due to concerns over oil sharing among member states. Instead of a new set of sanctions, a “maintenance and alignment” package was sealed in July, mostly to close loopholes in measures that had already been agreed.


That said, the mayor of Moscow was one of 54 more people whose assets were frozen and Sberbank – a major Russian financial institution – was also targeted.

Meanwhile, technical work on the seventh package continues quietly.

Pressed by reporters in New York for details about what might happen, Borrell said the sanctions would “target new sectors of the Russian economy, especially — if I can be a little more concrete — technological Those”.

“I am confident that we will be able to find a consensus on a new sanctions package,” he said.

Ursula van der Leyen, who heads the EU’s executive branch – the European Commission – which is responsible for imposing most of the sanctions, also appeared determined, but she was hardly forthcoming.

“We are prepared to impose further economic costs on Russia and on individuals and entities inside and outside of Russia who politically or economically support (the war). We also propose additional export controls on civilian technology. will present because Russia is moving toward a total war economy,” he told CNN.

The European Commission is expected to propose new measures in the coming days, but what is eventually agreed is likely to be less ambitious. The new sanctions could only be imposed after much debate and back-and-forth between the EU’s 27 member states in the coming weeks. Maybe only after the referendum is held.

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