‘Germany and France are the problem’ Top EU states blamed for blocking Russia trade ban

Leading EU members slammed for ‘blocking Russia trade ban

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Activists are blocking trade roads at the German-Belarus border as they call on the EU to ban trade altogether with Russia amid France’s and Germany’s refusal to stop trade with Russia. Polish activist Viktoria Pogrebniak told GB News that EU sanctions are “mostly on paper” without proper enforcement, as “50km of queue of trucks” continue their way from the EU into Russia. After three consecutive days of protests, Ms Pogrebniak told GB News: “Today what we have seen is that not the border by itself is the problem, but Germany and France who are blocking the decision about the trade ban with Russia.”

“So, we decided yesterday to block the main highway between Germany and Poland, and we have blocked the traffic for more than 2 hours.”

In 2020, the EU was Russia’s first trading partner with 37 percent of the country’s total trade in goods with the rest of the world. The EU is also largely dependent on Russian gas, with about 45 percent of Russian gas imported in 2021.

Ms Pogrebniak added: “What we see is the EU sponsoring the war, the genocides of Ukrainians in Ukraine.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has formally proposed today an import ban on coal in response to Russia’s “cruel and ruthless war” that killed more than 300 civilians in Bucha according to Ukrainian officials.

In the new package of sanctions, the EU proposed to ban vessels from accessing EU ports and another four Russian banks from the banking payment system SWIFT among other bans.

“The perpetrators of these crimes won’t go unpunished”, President Von der Leyen said, as she announced an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine.

EU officials fell short of activists’ expectations with the proposed trade ban only targeting semiconductors, machinery, and transport equipment for a total worth of 10 billion euros.

Ms Pogrebniak said: “We are demanding to stop trading with Russia by any means whatever will be the downsides of it.”

The EU is divided over further sanctions on Russian energy with Germany pushing back against calls to ban Russia’s oil and gas imports.

Half of Germany’s gas and a third of its oil come from Russia, meaning a ban would plunge the country into economic recession.

Now EU countries are trying to diversify their sources of energy to reduce their dependence on Russia.

Ms Pogrebniak said: “The European Union had enough time for this, they had time since 2014 to do so and they didn’t do this.”

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Since 2014, Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas has seen fighting to oppose Ukrainian forces to Pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces, ultimately culminating in Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

It remains unclear whether the EU will pass more sanctions against Russia as Germany has shown reluctance to cut off Russian gas supply.

And every single EU member state must approve new legislation to pass and come into force.

If passed, the latest sanctions would deal a severe blow to Russia’s lucrative energy industry. 

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