FM says strictest package of sanctions adopted against Russia

Brussels – As the EU adopted on Friday a second package of sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, which target key sectors of its economy and include sanctions against President Vladimir Putin and FM Sergey Lavrov, Slovenian FM Anže Logar said this was the “strictest package of sanctions” that the bloc had ever adopted.

A new package of measures was adopted that will “significantly affect both the Russian economy and oligarchs and individuals who have participated in the aggression,” Logar said after an emergency session of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The package includes both individual and sectoral measures, and is “the strictest package of sanctions the EU has ever adopted against any country,” the foreign minister added in the video statement for Slovenian journalists.

At the in-person meeting, the EU foreign ministers formally approved the new package of sanctions against Russia that covers the financial sector, energy and transport, dual-use goods, control and financing of exports and visa policy.

Several Russian individuals have been added to the list of persons who are banned from travelling to the EU whose assets in the EU are frozen.

The list now includes President Putin and FM Lavrov in terms of the freezing of assets in the EU. This was endorsed by all member states, Logar said, adding that it was possible that family members were included in the next round of sanctions.

The second package of sanctions was agreed by the EU leaders at an emergency meeting in Brussels on Thursday. It does not include the possibility of excluding Russia from the Swift payment system, which has been advocated by Ukraine.

Logar said that this had been discussed at length today, adding that the opposition to this measure was getting weaker.

“Several countries said they were aware of the consequences of this measure for their economy, but were nevertheless prepared to accept this damage given the importance of this historical event,” he added.

The foreign minister said that “an even stricter package, with an even greater impact on the Russian economy”, was being coordinated, and that talks to this end would continue in the coming days.

If a consensus is reached, the third package will include Swift – unless it is established that the international community can cause even more serious economic consequences for Russia in some other way, he added.

“Slovenia supports strict sanctions that have a deterring effect and that make it clear that such acts are unacceptable,” said Logar in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

PM Janez Janša meanwhile attended a virtual NATO summit at which it was decided that the alliance will deploy its rapid response forces on its eastern flank in what will be the first deployment of these forces for the purpose of joint defence.

Janša said on Facebook on the occasion that a decision would be made in the next few days about what Europe would be like in the future. “Only a victory of Ukraine and Putin’s defeat can prevent a long period of new Cold War,” he added.

According to Janša, three things should be done in order to truly help Ukraine and “win the war for Europe”.

“NATO should close the airspace over Ukraine and deprive the Russian aggressor army of its strategic advantage, the EU should provide Ukraine with membership prospect and the democratic world should isolate Putin’s regime with sanctions,” he said.