Europeans ready for Russian coal embargo

An open coal mine in Kemerovo, Russia, in 2015.

the atrocities committed by the Russian army in Boutcha, in Ukraine, quickly moved the lines within the western camp. As the United States and Canada announced new sanctions against Moscow, Paris and Berlin decided on Monday, April 4, to follow a move started last week in several European Union (EU) countries by en masse extorting Russian diplomats suspected of espionage. to make. Thirty-five of them will leave France because of “their activities are contrary to the interest” [du pays]About 40 more will have to leave Germany because they would pose a threat to people seeking protection, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

Lithuania has announced the expulsion of the Russian ambassador and the recall of its ambassador to Moscow. Spain has seized the yacht of the oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in Palma de Mallorca, the target of US sanctions – but not European at this stage. Finland boarded three Russian ships loaded with goods targeted by European sanctions, while Poland called for a visa ban for all Russian citizens, a measure Warsaw hopes to see discussed at European level.

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Before last weekend, the EU-27 was preparing a fifth package of sanctions, which should aim, for example, to ban the export to Russia of certain technological goods and to stop imports into the Union of certain Russian materials, but also provide for an asset freeze for new oligarchs or relatives of Vladimir Putin, as well as for businesses, including banks.

Add an energy component to sanctions

Over the weekend, the capitals and the Commission – which is responsible for proposing sanctions that must then be ratified by Member States – discussed whether it was possible to increase the measures and add an energy component, or whether it was appropriate to a little more time. Monday, April 4 in the morning, on France InterFrench President Emmanuel Macron said to himself “advantageous” until the EU decides on an embargo on Russian oil and coal.

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Finally, on the evening of Monday, April 4, it seemed certain that Europeans were ready to take a first step by deciding on a coal embargo. It was yet to be decided when exactly the measure would apply, while boats were already on their way to European ports and the interruption of certain contracts requires a transition period.

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