On Monday, European Union foreign ministers discussed the bloc’s efforts to pressure the Russian economy with sanctions, including the possibility of further energy sanctions, but no decisions were taken.
“Nothing is off the table, including sanctions on oil and gas,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after the meeting in Luxembourg. “But today no decision has been made.”
The European Union approved a fifth package of sanctions against Russia last Friday, which included the first major ban on Russian energy imports – coal. However, the bloc remains deeply divided over whether to proceed with further bans on energy imports, starting with oil.
A senior EU official briefed on Monday’s discussions said there was not much detailed discussion of options on Monday and no progress was made in narrowing the divide within the bloc. A group of countries, led by Germany, are opposed to a rapid cut in oil imports. Others, led by Poland, are urging the bloc to stop buying Russian energy.
Mr. Borrell pointed to the “asymmetric shock” that more energy sanctions could wrought on some countries within the bloc that rely heavily on Russian oil and gas. “It must be managed through unity and solidarity,” he said.
EU officials say it could be several weeks before the European Commission makes a proposal for a new round of sanctions, although the timing will ultimately depend on events in Ukraine.
Foreign Ministers met Monday morning in Luxembourg with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, to discuss efforts to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine.
Several member states, including Sweden’s foreign minister, said on Monday that they were ready to help fund the work of the International Criminal Court. In addition, Mr. Borrell said that the EU’s assistance mission in Ukraine is helping the authorities collect evidence of war crimes. The European Union reopened its mission in Kyiv last weekend.
A team of French special police with forensic expertise has already arrived in Ukraine to help investigate war crimes.