Russian nuclear threat is 'concerning' says Tugendhat
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European Union foreign ministers gave support on Sunday for fresh sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine to come into force by Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday.
Borrell said the ministers had reached a political agreement for a package of support for the Ukrainian armed forces, new sanctions and efforts to isolate Russia and to counter disinformation.
“During the weekend we have been working very hard and we want to take some decisions that should be in place, agreed and in a legal act implementing them before tomorrow when the central banks will restart working,” Borrell told a news conference.
But the new package of sanctions has come “too late” for some after four days of escalating conflict in Ukraine.
The Streit Council warned: “EU, UK, and US agree to remove Russia from SWIFT, restrict the Russian Central Bank, and create a transatlantic task force to implement sanctions.
“These will help but did they come too late? How should democracies react in the future?”
Lyudmyla Kozlovska, president of the Open Dialogue Foundation, also said: “Sanctions actually always work.
“But the EU is too late in its timing.
“You don’t want criminals using cryptocurrencies, do you?
“So why should officials who order crimes against humanity go unpunished?”
Responding to the EU Commission announcement of the new package over the weekend, Twitter users also called for the bloc to act more swiftly.
Twitter user Lizzy Watercolor said: “The measures haven’t gone far enough!
“There are people dying already! How long will the Ukrainian people last without proper support?”
User Majaira Jairosi echoed: “Why is EU reluctant on SWIFT? Putin understands the language of fierce pressure not this kindergarten type of sanctions.”
President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a barrage of Western reprisals for his war on Ukraine, which said it had repelled Russian ground forces attacking its biggest cities.
The United States said Putin is escalating the war with “dangerous rhetoric”, amid signs the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two is not producing rapid victories, but instead generating a far-reaching and concerted Western response.
Less than four days after it started, the invasion has triggered a Western political, strategic, economic and corporate response unprecedented in its extent and coordination.
The 27-nation European Union on Sunday decided for the first time in its history to supply weapons to a country at war. A source told Reuters it would send 450 million euros of weaponry to Ukraine.
The European Union’s chief executive Ursula von der Leyen expressed support for Ukraine’s membership in an interview with Euronews, saying “they are one of us”. Ukraine, a democratic nation of 44 million people, won independence from Moscow in 1991 at the fall of the Soviet Union and has pushed to join the NATO Western military alliance and the EU – goals Russia vehemently opposes.
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The ruble plunged nearly 30 percent to an all-time low versus the dollar early on Monday, after Western nations on Saturday unveiled harsh sanctions, including blocking some banks from the SWIFT international payments system.
On Sunday, the president of neutral Switzerland said he expected his government to follow the EU with Russia sanctions and freezing Russian assets.
The Ukrainian president’s office said negotiations with Moscow without preconditions would be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Later on Sunday, Russian news agency Tass cited an unidentified source as saying the talks would start on Monday morning.
As missiles fell on Ukrainian cities, nearly 400,000 civilians, mainly women and children, have fled into neighbouring countries, a UN relief agency said. Hundreds were stranded in Kyiv on Sunday waiting for trains to take them west, away from the fighting.
The capital remained in Ukrainian government hands, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rallying his people daily despite Russian shelling of civilian infrastructure.
The EU shut all Russian planes out of its airspace, as did Canada, forcing Russian airline Aeroflot to cancel all flights to European destinations until further notice. With flight options dwindling, the United States and France urged their citizens to consider leaving Russia immediately.
The EU also banned the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik.
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