VILNIUS – The European Commission's priority at the moment is the implementation of the existing sanctions imposed on Russia, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius has said.
"Monitoring of sanctions is ongoing and the question is being raised about possible additions to the sanctions, perhaps the inclusion of new persons. But in this case, the priority is still implementation," he told reporters in Vilnius on Monday when asked about the prospects for new sanctions against Russia.
"First of all, the sanctions should be fully implemented, both in terms of dual-use goods and the Russian financial sector, where we have seen the latest falls of the ruble," Lithuania's delegated EU commissioner said.
In mid-August, the Russian ruble crashed through the level of 100 to the dollar for the first time since March 23, 2022, i.e. weeks after Moscow unleashed full-scale hostilities in Ukraine.
Later, however, the ruble held steady against the US dollar after the Russian central bank raised its key rate to 12 percent.
According to Sinkevicius, this fall of the ruble is linked to sanctions.
"Clearly, it is related to the sanctions, and clearly, this artificial stimulus from the reserve is continuing to hurt the Russian economy. But we see that sanctions are also being circumvented, and the Commission is also focusing very much on third countries that may be helping to circumvent sanctions," he said.
During his meeting with President Gitanas Nauseda on Monday, Sinkevicius also discussed the European Commission's autumn and winter agenda, Ukraine's progress towards EU membership, and the implementation of the reforms of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
Sinkevicius arrived on an official visit to Lithuania on Sunday.
He will also meet with Seimas Speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, representatives of the Lithuanian Laser Association, members of the Youth Europe team, representatives of Lithuanian organic farms, and take part in the discussion festival “Būtent!” (Eng. Exactly).