Lithuanian president says EU to slap more sanctions on Russia

  • 2022-02-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Fresh sanctions agreed by EU leaders following the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine will have severe economic consequences for Russia, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said early on Friday, adding that further restrictions will be imposed on the country in the future.

Nauseda also said he spoke in favor of cutting off Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payments system at the European Council's meeting, but no consensus on the issue was reached.

The Lithuanian president said after the summit in Brussels early on Friday that "the rage of sanctions will be widened further". 

"We are talking about a third package of sanctions," Nauseda said in a comment sent by his office.

"This is the only way we can talk to Russia, otherwise we are simply not heard. Sometimes it feels like we are on different floors," he added.

According to the president, the discussion in Brussels clearly showed that the vast majority of EU leaders are clearly aware of the Russian threat.

In their emergency summit, EU leaders agreed on a set of sanctions targeting Russia's financial, energy and transport sectors, as well as on restrictions on trade in dual-use goods and on exports and export financing. They also decided to add more Russian individuals to the bloc's earlier sanctions list.

Nauseda said the sanctions will have severe economic consequences for Russia.

Although the EU summit in Brussels swiftly agreed on the package of sanctions, differences of opinion among member states prevented the bloc from going further in punishing Moscow.

For example, some countries have so far ruled out removing Russia from SWIFT.

The Lithuanian president said he backed such a restriction on Russia. 

"This is one of a limited range of sanctions that would make a serious impression and have a serious impact on Russia," he said, adding that "the larger part of the countries whose leaders were at the table (...) were also in favor of applying the SWIFT measure."  

"I think it would be a timely decision. The only problem is that some countries have not expressed a clear opinion on this issue," he added.

A smaller package of EU sanctions, worked out just before Russia's invasion, came into effect on Wednesday.

EU leaders also said they would seek to draw up sanctions against Russia's ally Belarus for its role in the aggression against Ukraine.