Sanctions The EU can also use energy sanctions, says Commission President von der Leyen – “Even if gas supplies from Russia are cut off, we will survive this winter.”

Situation Ukraine’s border continues to escalate, and the US president Joe Biden by President of Russia Vladimir Putin has already decided to attack Ukraine, possibly all the way to the capital Kiev.

The attack would trigger Western economic sanctions against Russia and would likely lead to a new spiral of sanctions that would be much more severe than in the aftermath of the 2014 takeover of Crimea.

The EU has kept the details of the sanctions preparations secret. However, the Commission and the Member States have warned Russia that the prepared sanctions would cause it significant financial harm. The tone of the warnings has become increasingly gloomy in recent days.

Saturday President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen He said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference that the sanctions package being prepared by the EU also includes the energy sector.

Until now, many countries have wanted to keep the energy sector out of sanctions because Europe is highly dependent on Russian energy. This is especially true for natural gas.

As late as Friday, the Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said sanctions should not be imposed on the energy sector. This has also been Finland’s line by the Prime Minister Sanna Marin (sd) has been highlighted in several contexts.

“It is important to keep energy policy out of the conflict,” Marin said when he arrived at the December EU summit to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

However, Finland has prepared for the possibility that Russia’s counter-sanctions could be imposed on the energy sector, Marin said a week ago during the Prime Minister’s question time.

The German line was still in the autumn that sanctions should not apply to energy projects, in practice the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. For example, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock however, said on Friday the gas pipeline was on the sanctions table.

Read more: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock: Nord Stream 2 is on the sanctions table

Saturday von der Leyen said that Europe needs to start diversifying its energy sources and that work has already begun. According to him, Europe cannot be dependent on a country that is threatening to start a war on energy supplies.

He blamed Russia Gazprom very directly on the energy price crisis seen in the autumn.

“Gazprom consciously supplies and stores gas as little as possible, even when prices and demand are cloudy. Strange use from the company, ”von der Leyen said.

In Europe, it has been speculated in recent months whether Russia could use gas supplies as a weapon against Europe if the situation in Ukraine escalates.

The content of Russia’s counter-sanctions is difficult to predict. When Western countries restricted the access of certain Russian banks to Western markets in 2014, Russia responded by restricting food imports from Europe.

The EU and the US have been negotiating with major gas-producing countries to secure Europe’s gas supply in a crisis.

The situation has been worrying, as European gas stocks were exceptionally empty at the start of the heating season. However, due to the warm winter and increased lng imports, they have started to return to normal levels.

“I can say that even if gas supplies from Russia are completely cut off, we will survive this winter,” von der Leyen said.

Von der Leyen blamed Gazprom outright for the energy price crisis seen in the fall.

Lännen the details of the sanctions are unknown.

In an interview with CNBC, von der Leyen said that two sets of sanctions are being prepared in the EU. The first concerns the financial sector and would cut off Russia’s access to Western financial markets. The other includes export restrictions.

“Products that Russia needs to modernize and diversify its one-sided economy and are not readily available elsewhere,” von der Leyen describes.

The United States has also said it is preparing new types of technology sanctions, which could significantly restrict the supply of semiconductors to Russia. Virtually all electronic products require semiconductors, in which U.S. companies play a key role.

The extension of personal sanctions is also on the table. In 2014, Western countries banned, among other things, the travel of Western rebel key figures to the West and froze the property of Putin’s close associates in the West.

EU countries There is also skepticism about the effectiveness of sanctions.

The Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas criticizes Saturday’s release In an interview with the Financial Times including the President of France Emmanuel Macronin that the hard financial cost of sanctions would act as a deterrent to Putin.

“Putin doesn’t care. He is not running in the election, ”says Kallas.

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