How the EU can punish Russia


EAt the end of July, the President of Ukraine announced that he wanted to turn his country into a “guarantor of European energy security”. Most of the electricity produced is still unused because production has stopped due to the war. In fact, they delivered Ukraine since the beginning of summer, when it was connected to the European grids, as well as cheap electricity for its western neighbors. But now it’s all over, as Volodymyr Zelensky informed the European Council on Thursday evening: “Due to recent Russian attacks that have destroyed more than a third of the energy infrastructure, ‘unfortunately we can no longer export electricity to you, we help keep the grid stable.’

Tom Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and Benelux countries, based in Brussels.

It was just a sideline to a larger energy debate that leaders held until 2am. But it was a bridge to Friday’s debate, which focused on the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s recent escalation of war and European responses to it. Selenskyj He also warned that Russia was preparing to blow up the Nova Kachovka dam, which would cause a massive catastrophic flood in the Kherson region.

Russian terrorism

It was “pure terrorism,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the next morning, immediately calling for a ninth package of sanctions. Russia. The three Baltic states and Poland circulated proposals for this even before the meeting. It contains many elements that were not included in the last package, such as an embargo on Russian natural gas (LPG) and a ban on civil nuclear cooperation. Some countries reject it because they cannot replace Russian products at the moment. In nuclear energy, this applies not only to Eastern countries, which still operate Soviet reactors, but also to France, which depends on the state-owned company Rosatom. He recently delivered enriched uranium to Dunkirk.

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Four countries are again proposing to ban the import of Russian rough diamonds. This concerns only Belgium, and more precisely: Antwerp diamond merchants, who last year bought diamonds from Russia for 1.8 billion. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told FAZ in Prague two weeks ago that his country would not stand in the way of such sanctions. However, traders have already agreed with the EU Commission on a plan to reduce imports to zero. Therefore, they have decreased “significantly” in the last few months.

Is there a special tribunal?

“We don’t have that many tools anymore,” Kaja Kall admitted in Brussels. “Therefore, we must focus on providing a legal response and prosecuting Russia’s crimes.” She, like Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, called for the establishment of a special international tribunal. This has been discussed for a long time. Before Council of Europe the pressure to include it in the findings increased. But, for example, the Netherlands, particularly experienced in such matters, warned against haste…

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