EU Commission proposes coal embargo

The EU Commission proposed tougher sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. For the first time, the lucrative Russian fossil fuel business is to be targeted with a coal imports embargo. Does the proposal go far enough, and if not, what additional action should be taken?

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Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Stop financing the terror

Mikhail Tkach, a journalist for Ukrayinska Pravda, calls on the West to impose tougher sanctions on Russia:

“Stop writing more cheques for Putin. These cheques are being paid for by Ukraine. Your money is buying bullets that are used against us. And missiles that are falling on our homes. Your wellbeing is destroying the lives of millions of Ukrainians. ... Imagine your children in these cellars with tape around their wrists. And your family in a mass grave. ... You want more Russian energy? That means Russian soldiers will continue to kill in your name.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Keep the European engine running

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung argues that the EU is right to confine itself to stopping coal imports:

“Neither Germany nor the EU would grow stronger if the continent's largest economy plunged itself into recession. Many other European countries depend not only on Russian gas, but also on the German economic engine. ... The West must prepare itself for a long confrontation with Putin. It is crucial to make it difficult for him to finance his reign of terror in Ukraine as well as in Russia as quickly as possible - but the Europeans must not weaken themselves in the process.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Don't lose the emerging markets

The West must not allow Russia to create a new axis with countries like China, India and other emerging economies, Corriere della Sera warns:

“There are already signs of this, with New Delhi buying Russian oil below cost. Of course, threatening those who help Moscow to circumvent its isolation with 'secondary sanctions' is an option. In the long run, however, this could fail, as it would isolate the West from emerging economies. While Europe and the US continue to tighten the economic vice for Russia, they need to build a positive relationship with emerging economies, and give them incentives to isolate Putin.”

Expressen (SE) /

Why Sweden is so hesitant

Sweden has not yet joined the call for a complete boycott. Expressen sees a reason for this:

“Sweden only gets five percent of its oil and only one percent of its gas imports from Russia. ... The government's negative stance is therefore hard to understand - until you remember Vattenfall. The state-owned Swedish energy company uses Russian gas in its large thermal power plants in Berlin and Amsterdam. Vattenfall also operates two power plants using Russian coal, which supply the German capital with electricity and heat. ... The government tells us that we have to show consideration for other countries and not demand too much. ... But apparently it's more about distracting attention from Vattenfall and its dirty business in Europe.”

Diena (LV) /

Russia will not be brought to heel that quickly

Unfortunately, so far the sanctions have achieved the opposite of the desired effect in Russia, Diena points out:

“They have not roused anger against the Putin regime, but united people around the flag in the fight against the imaginary enemy. A survey by the Levada Centre shows that public support for Putin has risen from 69 to 85 percent since the invasion of Ukraine. ... The elite - MPs, civil servants and entrepreneurs - are more united than ever because they understand that their lives now depend only on Russia and can only be built here. ... Russia won't be so easily destroyed. At least not with the methods the West has so far adopted.”