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23 March, 2014 21:35   ▪  

The Guardian: EU prepares for trade war with Russia

Brussels drafts tougher sanctions for new battle plan against Moscow, however the biggest EU countries split over the tactics of the new campaign, The Guardian reports.

“Europe began to prepare for a possible trade war with Russia over Ukraine on Friday, with the EU executive in Brussels ordered to draft plans for much more substantive sanctions against Moscow if Vladimir Putin presses ahead with Russian territorial expansion,” Ian Traynor reports in his article for the Guardian.

However the countries which have major interests at stake in Russia – Germany, France, and Britain – split over the tactics of a new campaign with fears that a trade war would be highly risky and potentially ruinous.

After the two-day summit EU leaders decided to add 12 more Russian politicians and military figures to the list of 21 so far subjected to travel bans and asset freezes.

“Unlike Washington, which on Thursday blacklisted senior Kremlin figures and oligarchs, the EU list avoided Putin's immediate entourage, instead targeting figures such as Sergei Glazyev, an economic adviser to Putin, Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy prime minister, and the heads of both houses of parliament. "The persons are not so important," said a senior EU official. "It's the climate we're creating." He denied any differences with the Americans. "It's not a beauty contest.",” Traynor reports.

“On Thursday, the White House named metallurgy, energy, trade and other areas as possible targets for action. London and Paris wanted to echo this. "The Russians have to see where they will hurt," said one diplomat. Germany, by far Russia's biggest trade partner in the EU and the biggest buyer of Russian gas, has resisted attempts to specify what the sanctions targets might be,” he adds.

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