FM says Slovenia supports further sanctions against Russia

Brussels – Slovenia’s Anže Logar attended an emergency session of the EU foreign ministers on Friday to note that Slovenia supported further sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions that have already been adopted should be reviewed to close possible gaps – dual citizenships or Russian aircraft registered in Europe flying freely.

With this goal in mind, Logar proposed that a special group is established to deal with sanctions, and coordinate and find solutions to close the gaps that arise, he said in a virtual address to Slovenian correspondents in Brussels.

Regarding the possibility of extending sanctions in connection with SWIFT, Logar said that the European Commission would prepare an analysis of the effectiveness of sanctions and that specific proposals were presented yesterday as to which banks should be excluded from the system.

In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the EU has so far excluded seven Russian banks from SWIFT, including the second largest bank VTB.

The measure does not include the key Russian banks Sberbank and Gazprombank, through which Russian gas and oil are paid for, as the EU member states are concerned that the exclusion of these banks could lead to a further increase in energy prices.

Logar noted that he and some other foreign ministers had warned that, as long as the EU’s dependence on Russian gas, coal and oil was this high, buying energy from Russia would only finance the war. The next step is to reduce energy dependence, he added.

The EU can find alternative sources for oil faster than for gas, while the case is the opposite for Slovenia, the minister said, adding that there was a broad consensus on the need to reduce this dependence, and Slovenia would back concrete proposals once they were on the table.

Logar believes that the list of sanctioned persons needs to be expanded, while coordination with other partners needs to be enhanced, as the number of individuals and entities penalised by the EU is the highest compared to other partners.

According to him, several EU foreign ministers called for criminal prosecution of the violations of international law in Ukraine, and all member states welcomed the launch of investigation by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Logar also assessed that the Russian regime was “getting increasingly dictatorial” as a law has been passed in the Russian parliament that imposes heavy penalties for spreading allegedly false information about the Russian military forces.

This further reduces the chances of finding ways to calm the situation down, the minister said, reiterating his call for clear EU accession prospects for Ukraine.