| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Europe ready to impose more sanctions on Russia -Italy’s Draghi

The European Union is finalizing a first package of penalties in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is prepared to impose more restrictions if necessary, according to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Friday.

European Union leaders gathered on Thursday to consider sanctions, but unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, which published precise measures, the European Union members, divided over how far to go, left details to be worked out in the following days.

Draghi said the EU sanctions would be far-reaching, hitting the Russian financial, energy, transport and technology sectors, and promised further action to come.

“We also envisage a second package, including against members of the Duma who have not yet been sanctioned,” he told parliament. “We are ready for even harsher measures if these do not prove sufficient.”

Speaking off the record, some diplomats in Brussels have said Italy had been opposed to tougher initial sanctions, such as cutting Russia off from SWIFT — an international payments system through which it receives foreign currency.

Draghi said Italy’s position was in line with other EU allies “first and foremost France and Germany”.

He added that Italy was ready to supply an additional 3,400 military personnel to support NATO efforts to contain the Ukraine crisis, boosting the 240 Italian troops already involved in NATO missions in eastern Europe.

“Our priority today must be to strengthen the security of our continent and to apply maximum pressure on Russia to withdraw its troops and return to the negotiating table,” he said.

“The images we are seeing, of defenseless citizens forced to hide in bunkers and subways, are terrible and take us back to the darkest days of European history.”

  • Reuters