Europe is discussing a sixth round of sanctions against Russia, including a blow to Russia’s energy market, a top European Commission official and Lithuania’s finance minister said Friday.
European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said one of the issues under consideration is an oil embargo. There have been discussions about “smart sanctions” that could initially include tariffs rather than a full embargo.
“So there may be some nuances, but this work is ongoing,” Dombrovskis told reporters in Washington, DC.
In a separate interview with DailyExpertNews in the US capital, Lithuanian Treasury Secretary Gintarė Skaistė said she was discussing a possible next tranche of sanctions with US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo.
“We always offer to include the energy sector, especially oil, in the sanctions,” as well as “additional sanctions for Russia’s financial sector,” Skaistė said.
Skaistė said the sanctions must be coordinated to have an effect. “If we don’t agree on sanctions, the United States and all Western allies, it won’t work,” she said.
Dombrovskis said that “technically, sanctions approval can be very quick, can be done in one or two days.”
“The question here is really that sanctions require unanimity among member states, so those political discussions are parallel, so it’s important to reach a political agreement unanimously,” he said.
Skaistė said it is too early to say when there will be agreement on that next round of sanctions. She noted that the sanctions have both a shorter and longer-term goal: to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin to the negotiating table and weaken Russia’s economy so that it cannot bolster its military.
“If there are no opportunities to strengthen their military, we would like to think there will be no war in Europe,” she said.
Dombrovskis said it is important that existing sanctions are effectively enforced, noting that they work with both EU member states and the wider international community.
“The fact is that not all countries have joined those Western sanctions,” he said, pointing out that Beijing is “hedging its bets” and that they are trying to urge China and other countries “to move closer to our approach to Russia.” come”.
Skaistė said they are also focused on helping the Ukrainian government survive in the shorter term, and in the longer term rebuild Ukraine more efficiently, which she says “should be closely involved in Ukraine’s accession process.” to the European Union”.
Both Skaistė and Dombrovskis expressed concern about Putin’s future goals if he is not decisively stopped in Ukraine.
Skaistė told DailyExpertNews that Russia is trying to impose its influence on neighboring countries, noting that it is “not the first time.”
“Russian propaganda, certain authorities, representatives make no secret of the fact that Russia intends to move forward and if we don’t stop them in Ukraine they will invade other neighboring countries,” said Dombrovskis, calling it not only an attack on Ukraine, but on European security in general.
Asked if Europe would respond with the same unity if Moldova were attacked by Russia, Dombrovskis said they should focus on Ukraine now, “because Putin will go as far as we let him go.”
DailyExpertNews’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this post.