Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by Putin. An estimated 100,000 people fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Dozens have been reported killed.
The bloc's leaders agreed in principle at an emergency overnight summit to impose new economic sanctions, joining the United States and others in taking steps such as curbing Russia's access to technologies.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference that the sanctions, would "cut Russia's access to the most important capital markets" hence increasing the former Soviet Republic's borrowing costs and rising inflation there.
Von der Leyen also said that export curbs to Russia would hurt its oil sector by stopping access to the material it needs from the EU for its oil refineries. That will, over time, trigger a depletion in Russia's oil refining revenues, she said.
"First, this package includes financial sanctions that cut Russia's access to the most important capital markets. We are now targeting 70 per cent of the Russian banking market, but also key state-owned companies, including the field of defence. These sanctions will increase Russia's borrowing costs, raise inflation and gradually erode Russia's industrial base. " She said.
"Our export ban (towards Russia's energy sector) will hit the oil by making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its oil refineries, which gave actually Russia export revenues of 24 billion euros in 2019." Von der Leyen added.
However, whereas the United States issued detailed sanctions on Thursday, EU countries, split over just how far to go, leaving details to be worked out in the coming days.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the same news conference that the war showed Europe needed to become a real power and be independent in the fields of energy and security.
Published : Feb 24, 2022
Published : February 25, 2022