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EU’s top diplomat defends anti-Russia sanctions — Analysis

Josep Borrell insisted the restrictions are not a mistake, after Hungarian PM Viktor Orban called them “miscalculated”

The EU’s top diplomat has hit back at those who criticize the Western sanctions slapped on Russia, saying on Monday that he does not believe them to be a mistake, and adding that the bloc will continue to stand by its policies.

“There is a big debate about ‘are the sanctions effective? Are the sanctions affecting us more than Russia?’ Some European leaders have been saying that the sanctions were an error, were a mistake. They were an error, they had to be done and I don’t think it was a mistake.,” Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told reporters prior to the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

Borrell’s comments come after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban castigated EU sanctions against Russia on Friday, claiming they were “Miscalculated” and could destroy Europe’s economy. He also noted that the sanctions have failed to destabilize Russia’s economy and haven’t forced Moscow to stop its military operation in Ukraine, instead causing massive damage to the EU’s economic stability.

A senior diplomat declined to accept that oil prices have risen due to the embargo Brussels imposed upon Russia. According to him, the current price of fuel has returned to the level it was prior February 24,

How can one say it was the oil ban that caused the increase in the price??” Borrell argued.

Brent crude oil prices rose dramatically after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. In March, they reached more than $120 per barrel. Later, however, the prices went down, with Brent crude trading now at just above $100 per barrel, despite the EU’s decision on June 3 to impose an embargo on Russian oil.

Borrell stated Monday at the Council that the ministers will discuss new sanctions against Russia and measures to improve the implementation of existing restrictions. He also said that new suggestions had been made on the subject, such as a ban on Russian Gold.

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