EU keeping sanctions if Ukraine peace signed on Russia terms: Scholz
The European Union is going back on its words to remove or mitigate its sanctions on Russia at the conclusion of the Ukraine war, with Germany adding more conditions for sanction removal.
The European Union will not be removing its sanctions on Russia, imposed in light of the Ukraine war, if Kiev signs with Moscow a peace treaty on the latter's terms, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an article published Sunday in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagzeitung.
"The part of the new reality is that the EU has also consolidated. It has reacted to the Russian aggression quite unanimously and imposed unprecedentedly harsh sanctions," Scholz said. "We knew it from the start that we will potentially have to keep these sanctions for a long time."
The "unprecedentedly harsh sanctions" include everything from freezing Russian Central Bank assets, sanctions on Russian gas and oil imports as Europe grapples with an already fragile supply chain, and sanctions on Russia's airlines, as well as removing the country from the SWIFT system, censoring Russian press, and much more.
"And it is also clear that not a single one of these sanctions will be withdrawn in case of peace, dictated by Russia," Scholz added. "There is no other path for an agreement with Ukraine for Russia than the one that could be accepted by the Ukrainians."
These statements contradict those made by European External Action Service spokesperson Peter Stan months ago, who said that the end of the Ukraine war would prompt a scaling back in the EU sanctions on Moscow.
"We will support Ukraine for as long as it will require this support: economic, humanitarian, financial, and by arms shipments. At the same time, we guarantee that NATO will not become a side of the war," Scholz claimed.
European political community anti-Russian initiative: Lavrov
As the European Union says that it is possible for it to maintain its unilateral sanctions on Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sheds light on French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to create a "European political community", calling the idea "deliberately confrontational" with anti-Russian intentions.
"So far, they have been advertising the ‘European political community,' initiated by French President Macron, where there will be no particular financial or economic benefits, but there will be demands for full solidarity with the EU on its anti-Russian actions," Lavrov said in an interview for Izvestia.
"This is no longer an 'or-or' principle, but a ‘who is not with is against us' principle. Macron himself explained what this community is: the EU will invite all European countries to join, from Iceland to Ukraine, but not Russia. I will point out right here that we don't need to go there, but the statement itself, which unveils the nature of this deliberately confrontational, dividing idea, is noteworthy," Russia's top diplomat underlined.
Macron's proposal was discussed before, with Brussels saying in mid-May that it would work to create a "European Geopolitical Community" that would serve as a waiting room with privileges for neighboring countries hoping to join the bloc.
European Council chief Charles Michel pledged to put the project on track around the middle of the year, providing more details about an idea put forward by French President Emmanuel Macron to the members of the European Parliament.