Germany froze a new gas pipeline and Britain hit Russian banks with sanctions on Tuesday, as the West responded to Moscow’s recognition of two separatist regions in Ukraine and a speech by President Vladimir Putin suggesting more belligerent aims.
Germany is Russia’s biggest customer for natural gas, and the decision by Chancellor Olaf Scholz to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — built but still not opened — was widely seen as one of the strongest steps Europe could take.
Scholz said he had asked the economy ministry to take steps to ensure that certification could not take place for now. “True leadership means tough decisions in difficult times. Germany’s move proves just that,” Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. Putin said Russia would keep global gas supplies flowing. “Russia aims to continue uninterrupted supplies, including liquefied natural gas, to world markets, improve related infrastructure & increase investments,” he said
European Union foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday to sanction 27 Russians and entities, as well banks, the defence sector and limiting Russian access to European capital markets. All members of Russia’s Duma, parliament’s lower house, will be hit with EU sanctions, which typically involve travel bans and asset freezes. “This package of sanctions that has been approved by unanimity by the member states will hurt Russia, and it will hurt a lot,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
Britainannounced sanctions on three Russian billionaires and five of its banks. PM Boris Johnson said it was “inconceivable” that European Champions League soccer final could go ahead in Russia in May. At an emergency UNSC meetlate on Monday, several nations rebuked Russia. Although the meeting ended with no action taken, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US envoy to the UN, said council members had “sent a unified message — that Russia should not start war. ” A conflict could devastate Ukraine and cause huge economic damage across Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy. But Asian nations are also worried. President Moon Jae-in instructed officials to prepare for the economic fallout in South Korea. Japan and Australia said they would be ready to order sanctions against Russia along with the West.


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