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German concerns delaying EU's latest Russia sanctions

IANS | June 13, 2024 10:32 AM

BRUSSELS: Germany is bogging down negotiations on the latest EU sanctions package intended to prevent Russia from circumventing existing punitive measures imposed over the war in Ukraine.

Diplomats in Brussels said German concerns and requests for changes are a decisive factor in the delay of the latest Russian sanctions package.

They said it recently felt like Germany had become the new Hungary, referring to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has repeatedly delayed decisions on Russia sanctions at the EU level.

The latest planned EU punitive measures are aimed at preventing the circumvention of existing sanctions, with Russia's defence industry currently still able to benefit from Western technology to produce weapons for its war in neighbouring Ukraine.

For the first time, the EU also plans to impose strict sanctions against Russia's multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

According to diplomats, the European Commission is looking to bar the shipment of Russian LNG to third countries from EU ports such as the one in Belgium's Zeebrugge, the hope being that this would reduce Russian LNG profits and thus available investments for the war in Ukraine.

German reticence mainly concerns the planned measures aimed at preventing sanctions circumvention, according to EU diplomats.

Among other things, Berlin is calling for a planned rule for subsidiaries to be held liable in the event of violations to be limited to certain goods or cancelled altogether, amid apparent fears that German companies could be held responsible for sanctions violations.

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