European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Kremlin-orchestrated referendums on joining Russia “are an illegal attempt to grab land and change international borders by force.”
“We are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation,” she said. “We propose sweeping new import bans on Russian products.”
The EU’s executive branch, headed by von der Leyen, has drawn up several rafts of sanctions against Russia since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of neighboring Ukraine seven months ago.
Banks, companies and markets have been hit — even parts of the sensitive energy sector – with asset freezes and travel bans slapped on over 1,200 officials.
But the hard work is yet to come. The economies of the EU’s 27 member countries have been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic are now struggling against high inflation, with skyrocketing electricity and natural gas prices. Sanctions are getting harder to agree as they also inflict damage at home.
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