E.U. leaders have reached an agreement on new sanctions to the U.S. if Russia invades Ukraine

E.U. leaders have reached an agreement on new sanctions to the U.S. if Russia invades Ukraine. 

European Union leaders agreed on Thursday that they would apply further economic sanctions against Russia alongside the United States and Britain – if the Russian military can invade Ukraine. However, they also urged more diplomatic engagement with Moscow.

Baltic Central and Eastern European states believe that the bloc is under attack from Russia across multiple fronts, with Lithuania warning of Russian military strikes coming from Belarus, which is a close Russian ally.

“Any new military action against Ukraine could have devastating consequences and will incur a high cost in reaction, including restrictive measures that are coordinated with allies,” leaders said in their statement at the summit’s conclusion in which they referred to the U.S. and U.K. allies.

The West implemented economic sanctions against Russia in 2014 in response to the annexed Crimean peninsula to Ukraine. Also, it targeted the banking, energy, and defense sectors.

While there was no discussion of sanctions during the conference, diplomatic officials stated that new measures could target Russian Oligarchs, prohibiting E.U. transactions involving private Russian banks, and even removing all Russian banks of the SWIFT network mainstay of international money transfer.

E.U. officials said they “encourage diplomacy and support the Normandy model to fully implement Minsk Agreements” about the 2014-2015 peace agreements in conjunction with Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia.

The warnings issued at the E.U. summit were among the clearest recent weeks regarding how the United States and its NATO allies try to deter any potential Russian aggression against Ukraine and narrow Moscow’s range to unexpected events. A lot of NATO allies are E.U. members.

“We truly are in the midst of an array of threats. I think they’re all related,” Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins told reporters, outlining what he described as the militarization of Middle East migrants on the Belarus border with the E.U. as well as artificially high prices of Russian natural gas as well as Russian deception.

Ukraine remains the primary flashpoint in the conflict between Russia with the West. Washington declares that Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops within Ukraine’s borders and could be planning an invasion. 

Moscow claims it has the right to move troops on its territorial boundaries as it chooses but insists that these moves are strictly defensive.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia was expanding on Thursday, not decreasing the number of troops on its border.

“We are not seeing any indication that this build-up is halting from reducing or slowing. On the contrary, it continues to grow,” the official said to journalists in the NATO headquarters, seated alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Stoltenberg stated that the border was dotted with Russian “combat-ready troops as well as tanks, artillery drones, armored units (and) Electronic warfare system” at Ukraine’s border.

The Kremlin is defiant of Western accusations against it and denies any plans to attack Ukraine. 

However, it claims that there are legitimate security concerns in the region. This week, it made suggestions for U.S. officials United States that NATO should not extend eastwards.

A statement issued on Thursday from NATO allies stated: “We support the right of every country to determine their future and their foreign policy without interference from outside.”