The European Union approved the eighth package of sanctions against Russia, including a ceiling on the price of a barrel of Russian oil, in conjunction with an expanded European summit in the Czech capital Prague, while Moscow warned Europe that it will face a cold winter without Russian gas.
The European Commission said in a statement on Thursday that the new package of sanctions includes a ban on imports of Russian goods worth 7 billion euros, and a ban on exports to Russia of coal, electronic components of weapons, military equipment, aviation technical products and chemicals.
The new package also prohibits EU citizens from holding positions in the management bodies of state-owned companies in Russia, as well as a ban on all transactions with the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.
It also prohibits providing Russia with financial services, IT consulting and other business services, and a European ban on Russians owning digital currencies.
On the other hand, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the European move as arbitrary.
Zakharova said that her country will change the direction of its supplies to the countries that want to cooperate with it in response to setting a ceiling on oil prices.
In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin expected that the economic pressure on his country would increase through the sanctions weapon, and said that he was aware that the pressure on Russia would increase, which required a response to this by adopting a flexible policy in the economy, he said.
Putin stressed that the sectors dependent on exports to Europe are still under pressure, and that the transition to other markets takes time, noting that the countries that refused the supplies of Russian oil, gas and minerals are now forced to pay a higher price for those resources, as he put it.
The European Union, the United States and other countries imposed a series of sanctions, including on the Russian oil and banking sectors, in response to the war that Russia has waged against Ukraine since February 24.
Medvedev said that the West intends to stand against Russia to the end (Reuters)
cold winter in europe
Commenting on the tightening of European sanctions, Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, warned Europe that a cold winter without Russian gas would soon come.
Medvedev said that despite the fact that the maximum price for Russian gas had not yet been set, the Europeans realized that they could remain without Russian gas forever.
He added that imposing new sanctions on Russia does not make sense, and that the West intends to stand against Russia to the end.
The Russian official considered that the West's call for balance and prudence is useless, and that Western countries must be forced to beg for mercy in the economic war, and end this war with a complete and unconditional surrender to the West, as he put it.
The announcement of the eighth package of European sanctions came as Prague hosted an expanded European summit yesterday attended by the leaders of 44 European countries, to discuss the security, political and economic challenges facing the countries of the continent, especially in light of the Russian war on Ukraine.
In the presence of the 27 member states of the European Union and 17 other countries, including Britain and Turkey, and the absence of Russia and its ally Belarus, the summit discussed security threats and crises facing Europe in the fields of energy, climate, economy and migration.
Erdogan and Pashinyan met on the sidelines of the Prague summit (European News Agency)
The European Union's foreign policy coordinator, Josep Borrell, had said that the meeting would focus on isolating Moscow on the international scene because of its war on Ukraine, as well as on the possibility of searching for a new international order that excludes Russia under its current president, Vladimir Putin, as he put it.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, European Union spokesman Luis Miguel Bueno described the meeting of the European Political Group as historic and held for the first time, saying that the leaders had held talks on strengthening common security and economic cooperation.
On the sidelines of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron assured his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the need to confront any attempt to circumvent the sanctions against Russia.
Also in the Czech capital, a meeting was held between Erdogan and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The European assembly in Prague is a translation of an idea launched by French President Emmanuel Macron last May, to form a comprehensive European image in light of the critical challenges facing the continent in the midst of an energy crisis due to the decline in Russian supplies, as well as accelerating inflation.