EU unveils tougher sanctions on Russia

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Ursula von der Leyen added that the European Commission is also pushing for bans on Russian ships entering EU ports…reports Asian Lite News

The Russia-Ukraine conflict continued on Wednesday as the European Union (EU) is proposing its fifth sanction package against Russia.

On Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the package, which will be discussed and given the final approval by EU ambassadors on Wednesday, includes bans on coal imports worth 4 billion euros a year and on four Russian banks.

She added that the European Commission is also pushing for bans on Russian ships entering EU ports, on Russian and Belarusian road transport operators, and on imports of oil, wood and cement, seafood and alcohol from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that Russia will be more prudent this year in exporting food, especially to countries that are pursuing a hostile policy towards Russia.

Meanwhile, Putin said that “increased production volumes make it possible to ensure food prices in Russia that are lower than on the world market.”

Food self-sufficiency is Russia’s competitive advantage and the country must protect its people from price fluctuations in the global food market, he said.

The EU has declared a number of Russian diplomats working in Brussels “persona non grata,” and ordered them to leave host nation Belgium, Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said Tuesday in a statement.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov was summoned to communicate this decision, according to Borrell.

In response, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the EU said its website on Tuesday that the EU’s “openly unfriendly — moreover, hostile and, most importantly, completely groundless step continues the EU’s policy of dismantling the partnership between Russia and EU, which recently both sides proudly called strategic.”

It added that Chizhov has assured the EU side of “the inevitability of adequate reciprocal measures” by Russia.

Several EU member states, including Sweden, Italy, Romania, Portugal and Spain, also announced on Tuesday their decision to expel Russian diplomats.

The National Guard of Ukraine said Tuesday its divisions have arrived at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) site and taken control of the facility’s security.

“The major task of the national guardsmen on the Chernobyl NPP site is ensuring security and defense of its nuclear facilities as well as physical protection of nuclear material,” the National Guard said on Facebook.

The safety of the site and its transport infrastructure will be checked by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, it said.

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