BERLIN (Reuters) – The European Union has prepared a “robust and comprehensive” package of sanctions to be imposed on Russia if it continues its aggression against Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Handelsblatt newspaper. and Les Echos.
Russia, which seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supports separatists in the east of the country, has massed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border and is demanding security guarantees, including a promise that NATO will never take Kiev.
“We have prepared a robust and comprehensive package of financial and economic sanctions,” von der Leyen told the newspapers, adding that these included “limiting access to foreign capital” and “export controls, particularly on technical goods.”
The controversial Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline was also part of the sanctions package. Whether the pipeline can go into operation depends “on Russia’s behavior,” said von der Leyen.
“People close to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and oligarchs could of course be hit hard,” she added.
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Russia has articulated several options as a pretext for invading Ukraine, including the possible use of a propaganda video showing a staged attack, the United States said on Thursday, as the Kremlin condemned the deployment of American troops in the region.
The Kremlin on Thursday accused Washington of ignoring its calls to ease the standoff, a day after the United States announced it would send nearly 3,000 additional troops to Poland and Romania.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Michael Perry)
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