European leaders reached an agreement on Friday over a new set of sanctions that they claimed would hurt the Russian economy and put President Vladimir V. Putin under pressure as his troops advanced into the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Iran PressEurope: Russia has launched “a special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says he had no other choice than to launch the military operation to stop the Ukrainian military’s interference in two eastern republics that have broken away from Ukraine. Russia perceives NATO’s eastward expansion as a threat.

The bloc’s 27 members had been able to push out a first set of sanctions on Wednesday in response to Putin’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine, and they did so in record time, The New York Times reported.

But the second package of penalties, which they described as unprecedented for the European Union in terms of size and reach, was harder to forge consensus on, even as Russian forces approached Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

The more the European Union leans into Russian sanctions, the more its own members will feel the pain, as their economic interconnectedness runs deep and across several sectors, and the bloc is only just staging a recovery from the pandemic recession that it can ill afford to abandon.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.

Also, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said European sanctions against Russia will lead to cost increases, but the bloc would be able to protect its economies against the effects of further inflation. 

However, they opted not to cut Russia off from the SWIFT global interbank payments system.


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