Germany Blocks New EU Sanctions on Russia: Reports

Berlin “has turned into Budapest,” diplomats have claimed to the DPA news agency

Germany is hindering discussions on the EU’s 14th round of sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict, according to the DPA news agency, citing diplomats in Brussels.

The new restrictions being considered by the 27 members of the bloc are intended to prevent Moscow from circumventing previous sanctions imposed over the conflict, the outlet stated on Thursday.

According to unnamed EU diplomats, Berlin’s objections and requests for amendments have been a “decisive factor” in delaying the implementation of fresh curbs against Russia.

The government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz is reportedly most concerned by plans for subsidiaries of EU firms to be held accountable in the event that sanctions on Russia are violated. Berlin wants the measure to be limited to specific goods or canceled altogether due to fears that it may lead to German firms facing penalties, they explained.

The diplomats expressed their frustration, stating that “it recently felt like Germany had become the new Hungary,” referencing Budapest’s consistent opposition to the EU imposing restrictions on Russia, DPA reported.

The 13th round of the bloc’s sanctions on Moscow was announced in late February, targeting 106 individuals and 88 entities primarily in Russia’s military and defense sectors. Some companies located in third countries such as India, China, and Türkiye also faced restrictions.

The EUobserver outlet reported last month that Brussels intended to finalize the 14th round of sanctions by the end of June.

On Wednesday, the US announced a new sanctions package against 300 additional individuals and entities in Russia and other countries, including China, Türkiye, and the UAE, who are accused by Washington of having links to Moscow’s “war economy” and allowing it to evade Western embargos.

The restrictions are a “dynamic affair” because Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a very capable adversary who is willing to adapt and find those willing collaborators,” the US State Department’s director for economic sanctions policy and implementation, Aaron Forsberg, told the AP.

On the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last week, Putin emphasized that the US and EU believed that their curbs would “undermine the Russian economy, and believed that this would happen within three, four, six months, but everyone sees that this is not happening.” The president announced earlier this year that despite Russia being the most sanctioned country in the world, its GDP has increased by 3.6% and was “higher than the global average” in 2023.