EU foreign ministers discuss new sanctions on Russia, including oil and gas import embargo

European Union foreign ministers discussed on April 11 a sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including an embargo on oil and gas imports, with discussions still at an early stage and a decision – if any – weeks away.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, participating in the talks, told Bulgarian National Television that the new package of sanctions against Moscow is expected to be severe, and the Bulgarian government would have to make difficult decisions, both at the level of the Cabinet and at the level of the ruling coalition.

The discussion of the sixth package of sanctions is in its infancy, the report said.

Genchovska said that it was possible that the sanctions would come in at the end of May, pending a special meeting of EU leaders.

She said that for Bulgaria, imposing sanctions on oil and gas imports from Russia is a “red line”.

“It is normal to move towards severe sanctions regarding gas and oil imports. The topic is extremely sensitive for Bulgaria,” Genchovska said, in an apparent reference to Bulgaria’s heavy dependence on Russian energy imports.

“But a pan-European solution will be proposed so that the countries with the highest dependencies can resolve these issues as quickly as possible, even in terms of infrastructure,” Genchovska said.

“There will be heavy sanctions on Russian media, as well as financial sanctions, and the list of personal sanctions will be expanded,” she said.

An April 11 statement by the Foreign Ministry quoted Genchovska as saying: “As a woman and a mother, I am shocked by the horrific violence against civilians in Bucha, Kramatorsk and other Ukrainian settlements.

“The perpetrators of these crimes must face international justice and suffer the most severe punishments,” Genchovska said.

She said that Bulgaria was continuing to strongly support Ukraine.

“So far, our country has received more than 70 000 refugees from Ukraine and is providing humanitarian aid.

“Coordination with Nato is crucial and will continue to grow. “

Genchovska called for enhanced co-operation with international partners for further diplomatic isolation of the Russian aggressor, as well as for firm opposition to Russian hybrid threats.

The statement said that the EU countries reaffirmed that the EU will continue to provide assistance and assistance to Ukraine in all areas – defence capabilities, social and humanitarian aid, reception of refugees, among others.

EU foreign ministers also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans region in the context of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine and the need for enhanced engagement with partners in the region, the statement said.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)

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