‘Insufficient’ EU attacked over Russia sanctions – bloc warned they ‘will not be enough’

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A increasing number of sanctions have been launched by the West in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion, which is now in its eighth day. But Russia, despite a number of widely-reported setbacks, has continued in its advance. Reports on Thursday morning suggested the first Ukrainian city – Kherson – has fallen. In light of Putin’s continued efforts in Ukraine, Brussels has been urged to step up its response.

Manfred Weber, leader of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, said more should be done to deter Russian aggression.

He addedthe current level of sanctions could in fact do a good deal of damage to Europe itself.

Mr Weber, quoted in German media group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland, said: “The measures taken so far will not be enough and will also have consequences for us in the EU.”

Seven Russian banks have so far been cut off from the SWIFT communications network, which oversees financial transactions between world banks.

If Putin is really to feel the damage in his economy, these restrictions should go further, Mr Weber insisted.

He said: “The existing Swift sanctions can be significantly extended, especially to the remaining major banks and other sectors.”

Describing the danger of damage in Europe as a result of the sanctions, he added: “The sanctions and other consequences of the war will be costly to everyone.

“Energy and food prices will rise.

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“Production in the EU is already being curtailed.”

It is this very damage that led commentators previously to predict any sanctions against Russia would have strict limits.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global Associates, last month suggested the EU lacked the power to deal a truly powerful blow to Putin.

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In a post on Twitter, he said: “Any effective sanctions against Russia will be more painful to the EU than to Russia.”

Despite the reality of damage likely being suffered at home, Mr Weber insisted leaders in Brussels must be prepared to act further should events demand it.

He said: “The EU has reacted quickly and decisively to Putin’s war of aggression [so far]…

“[It must be able to] react with the same speed and determination to further developments in this brutal and repugnant war.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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