EU leaders announce further sanctions against Russia

EU leaders announce further sanctions against Russia

European Union leaders are putting on a united front after a six-hour meeting during which they agreed on a second package of economic and financial sanctions on Russia.

The EU Council president accuses Russia of using “fake pretexts and bad excuses” for justifying its invasion of Ukraine and says sanctions will hurt the government.

The legal texts for the sanctions agreed on are expected to be finalised overnight and be submitted for approval to EU foreign affairs ministers Friday.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says the package includes targeting 70 per cent of the Russian banking market and key state-owned companies.

She says Russia’s energy sector also will be targeted “by making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its refineries.” And there will be a ban on sales of software, semiconductors and airliners to Russia.

Japan has announced additional sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that the new measures include freezing the assets of Russian groups, banks and individuals and suspending exports of semiconductors and other sensitive goods to military-linked organisations in Russia.

Kishida says that “Japan must clearly show its position that we will never tolerate any attempt to change the status quo by force”.

Earlier in the week, Japan suspended new issuances and distribution of Russian government bonds in Japan, aiming of reduce funding for Russia’s military. It also banned trade with the two Ukrainian separatist regions.

Japan has long sought to regain control of northern islands Russia seized at the end of World War II and previously had tended to be milder toward Moscow.

The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on a resolution that would condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine “in the strongest terms.” It also would demand an immediate halt to Russia’s invasion and the withdrawal of all Russian troops.

A senior US official says the Biden administration knows the measure will be vetoed by Russia, but believes it is very important to put the resolution to a vote to underscore Russia’s international isolation.

The official says the council vote will be followed by a resolution voted on quickly in the 193-member UN General Assembly where there are no vetoes.

The final draft resolution, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, would reaffirm the council’s commitment “to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders”. The council is scheduled to vote at 3 pm EST Friday. (Courtesy PTI)

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