EU foreign ministers to discuss Kerch Strait crisis and expanded sanctions against Russia

EU foreign ministers to discuss Kerch Strait crisis and expanded sanctions against Russia

Today, EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels to address increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. On November 25, Russian naval

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Photo: Reuters

Today, EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels to address increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

On November 25, Russian naval forces seized three Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, the sole point of entry to the Sea of Azov—key for Ukrainian security and commerce. Moscow and Kyiv have conflicting accounts of the event, but numerous European leaders have since called for a stronger stance against Russian aggression. Fears of escalating conflict are evident, especially as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instituted 30 days of martial law.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed the need for cautious diplomacy between the two sides, but it will be difficult to bring Ukraine to a negotiating table, given current tensions. Today’s meeting will likely centre around strengthening the sanction regime against military-related commodities and investments in major Russian companies ahead of the extension of current sanctions later this month.

However, this strategy has been unsuccessful in deterring Russian aggression in Ukraine. The EU is in a tough position, given the collaboration of EU leaders, like Germany, with the Russian NordStream 2 pipeline project, which circumvents Ukrainian pipelines. Tough sanctions on Russian energy could seriously deter Moscow while preserving Ukrainian leverage, but such an EU response remains unlikely.

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