Group of EU countries shocked by Russia`s economic flexibility

(MENAFN) A group of European Union (EU) member states, including prominent nations like Germany and France, have reportedly urged the European Commission to conduct an evaluation regarding the potential ramifications of imposing a ban on the transshipment of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG). According to sources cited by Reuters on Tuesday, diplomats from these European Union countries have raised concerns about the effectiveness and potential backlash of such a measure.

The call for assessment comes in the context of discussions surrounding the formulation of a 14th package of sanctions against Russia, with policymakers considering various restrictions on Russian LNG exports as part of these measures. The aim is to finalize these proposed restrictions before Hungary assumes the European Union presidency in July, indicating a sense of urgency among European Union member states to address the issue.

One diplomat, speaking to Reuters, highlighted the European Union's surprise at the resilience displayed by the Russian economy despite the imposition of existing sanctions. This sentiment underscores the complexity of the situation and the need for careful consideration of potential sanctions measures.

In April, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom had hinted at the European Union's intention to introduce additional restrictions targeting Russian LNG as part of its forthcoming sanctions package. Subsequent reports from Bloomberg suggested that the 14th round of sanctions might encompass measures such as prohibiting re-loading and transshipment services for Russian LNG destined for third countries, as well as curtailing support for Russian LNG projects in the Arctic.

The European Union's ongoing efforts to tighten sanctions against Russia reflect its continued response to developments in the region, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The adoption of the 13th package of sanctions earlier this year focused on closing loopholes to prevent Russia from circumventing existing restrictions through third-party countries.

However, as acknowledged by high-ranking European Union officials, including Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, there is growing recognition within the bloc that the effectiveness of sanctions in destabilizing the Russian economy may be limited. This acknowledgment underscores the need for a nuanced approach in formulating future sanctions policies while considering their potential impact on both the Russian economy and European Union interests.



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