The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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Sant says sanctions against Russia could lead to counter-productive consequences in Europe

Saturday, 16 April 2022, 10:37 Last update: about 3 years ago

Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant warned that in implementing further sanctions against Russia, the European Union must be careful not to impose punitive measures that end up wounding it more in the short to medium term than it does Russia.

Otherwise, this might have counter-productive consequences in terms of both deterrence and of European public opinion.

In his input at the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg about the latest developments of the war against Ukraine, Sant however acknowledged that the sharper and more biting European sanctions become the more effective they will be.

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Sant asserted that “balancing the different goals that need to be attained, is a delicate process that must achieve the optimal aim of bringing the Ukraine war to a close as soon as possible, hopefully today”.

The plenary was debating and voting on the conclusion of the European Council meeting of 24-25 March 2022, including the latest developments in the war against Ukraine and the European sanctions against Russia and their implementation. In a joint resolution, MEPs called for an embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas. Beyond that, MEPs called for the exclusion of Russian banks from the SWIFT system and a ban on access to European Union territorial waters by Russian vessels and on road transport of goods from and to Russia and Belarus. An amendment to the original draft called for an immediate embargo on all fuels imported to Europe from Russia.

Sant stated that Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the brutal ways by which it has been put into effect have undermined almost completely all the historical and geopolitical claims that have been validly advanced to argue against NATO expansion to the East. The Labour MEP emphasized that any Russian military or diplomatic gains from its so-called special military operation will be unlawful. This apart from any accusations of war crimes that are being claimed against Russia, he stressed.

Sant voted against the amendment calling for an immediate and total embargo on fuel imports from Russia, which was passed by a substantial majority of MEPs. He however voted for the joint resolution as amended. It was adopted with 513 votes in favour, 22 against and 19 abstentions. The number of absent MEPs for the vote was significant.

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