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Europos Parlamento narys Richardas Howittas: ES ir Rusijos sankcijos – ar „išlaidos“ tikrai brangiai kainuos?

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Vladimiras-Putinas-4After threatening ‘costs’ if Russia failed to de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine, today’s decision of European foreign ministers for targeted visa bans and asset freezes against a limited number of Russian officials may not be costly enough, a senior Labour MEP has said. Richard Howitt MEP, Labour’s European spokesperson on foreign affairs, met interim Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Brussels and is part of his European party’s task force on Ukraine.

“Although acknowledging the logic in gradually escalating sanctions to provide pressure for a diplomatic climb down by Russia, there is little sign this will work and in the meantime the oligarchs are getting off scot-free,” said Howitt.

Howitt, who is also backing moves for a joint European Parliament-Russian State Duma visit to Crimea, said Russia’s parliament had the opportunity to assist de-escalation by delaying ratification of Crimea’s application to rejoin the Russian Federation following yesterday’s controversial referendum. He said: “William Hague and other western politicians keep threatening ‘costs’ on Russia, but it is difficult to believe Vladmir Putin will consider today’s EU sanctions to be ones which are truly costly.

“Essentially these are political not economic sanctions, where the Russian oligarchs continue to get off scot-free.

“I fear protests such as the ones we’ve begun to see in Donetsk and Kharkiv are more likely to be used as an excuse for further military intervention by Moscow before the diplomatic breakthrough today’s European decision hopes to achieve. It may be that we see provocation before de-escalation.”

Speaking in favour of a direct initiative from the European Parliament to the Russian State Duma seeking to slow down assimilation of Crimea in to the Russian Federation, Howitt added: “The next step is on how quickly Russia acts following yesterday’s so-called referendum and, when Russia still blocks international observers going in to Crimea, it may be that a joint parliamentary delegation provides the best opportunity for us to have some direct influence.”

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