Ukrainian foreign minister calls on West to impose tougher sanctions on Russia

BERLIN Fri May 16, 2014 8:32pm EDT

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia addresses a news conference after a Council of Europe meeting in Vienna May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia addresses a news conference after a Council of Europe meeting in Vienna May 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The West should impose tougher sanctions on Russia, which is waging a "hidden war" in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt.

The United States and the European Union have already imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and some companies, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of stoking the eastern rebellions, a charge Putin has denied.

"The West should impose more severe sanctions that hit specific economic sectors such as banking and target Russian decision makers," he said in an advance copy of an interview due to be published in Saturday's print edition.

"It's also important to impose preventative sanctions before Russia does even more damage," he said.

Deshchytsia said German politicians should be aware "that Russia will not stop at Luhansk and Donetsk" and added that if they do not want to be held responsible for destabilizing the region, the German government has to be tougher toward Russia.

Germany has close economic ties to Russia and German industry is ramping up efforts to dissuade Chancellor Angela Merkel from imposing tough new economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, warning of lasting damage to domestic firms and the broader economy if Moscow is hit hard.

Deshchytsia said Putin was not planning to "openly invade" Ukraine because he feared consequences such as further sanctions and the Kremlin was therefore sending "terrorists to create unrest and bring the eastern part of the country under his control."

He said most of the weapons being used by "rebels" had come from Russia such as their machine guns, which he said came from Russian army stocks, were used exclusively by the Russian military and could not be acquired elsewhere.

"Border guards arrested smugglers who wanted to bring these weapons into Ukraine," he said.

"In addition, we've intercepted numerous telephone conversations between separatist leaders and Russian agents which prove that they are getting their orders from Russia."

Deshchytsia said he was worried that citizens in some places in eastern Ukraine would be prevented from voting in the presidential election set for May 25 because they would be intimidated by "terrorists" and fear reprisals.

He said Ukraine was negotiating with Russia about the price of gas and was prepared to pay the market price of around $300 per 1,000 cubic meters.

He added that Ukraine was also negotiating with Poland, Slovakia and Hungary about buying gas and was working on energy efficiency projects to become less dependent on Russian state-controlled gas producer Gazprom.

Russia has warned that it will not supply Ukraine with gas in June unless Kiev pays in advance by June 2, raising fears that deliveries to Europe could be affected.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (6)
Goo12 wrote:
G7 sanctions todate are merely a pin-prick on Putin’s butt !

G7 industries continue to lobby their respective governments not to impose harsh sanctions on Russia so as to protect billions $ of trade

G7 nations are playing the optics of doing something to help the Ukraine but in reality the G7 is allowing the Russian bear to brutally maul the Ukraine as it wishes

Since Germany, France and Canada are major players regarding sanctions the weblinks below make worthwhile reading

Moore, Garry R – Solutions Inc

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EU sanctions against Russia would be huge cost to Germany: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10820180/Ukraine-crisis-Russia-sanctions-would-hurt-Germanys-growth.html

EU sanctions – France will deliver military ship to Russia as planned: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=74786417f9554984d314d06bd&id=6a7bb896ab&e=37c533587d

Canadian sanctions – optics over substance: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-trimmed-russia-sanctions-to-protect-business-interests/article18711431/#dashboard/follows/

May 16, 2014 9:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
boreal wrote:
Neither Poland, nor Slovakia nor Hungary are gas producers. So whose gas are they going to give to Ukraine, and how does Ukraine plan to pay for it, or they want it for IOU free?

May 16, 2014 12:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
havryliv wrote:
Much tougher sanctions must be instituted to deter Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.

Under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 the US and Britain gave security assurances to Ukraine when Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal. Russia was also a signatory to this agreement but has cynically violated it.

The least the West can and should do to assist Ukraine is to ramp up sanctions to the maximum. Otherwise there is a real risk of a Yugoslav-like disaster unfolding in east Ukraine.

May 17, 2014 5:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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