BRUSSELS – The European Union’s foreign policy chief says there is no guarantee the 27-nation bloc will be able to quickly agree on a new round of sanctions against Russia, as a small group of countries led by Hungary opposes an oil embargo.
The European Commission on May 4 proposed a sixth wartime sanctions package against Ukraine that included a ban on oil imports from Russia. Hungary is one of many landlocked countries heavily dependent on Russian oil, along with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Bulgaria also has reservations.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “We will do our best to unblock the situation. I cannot guarantee this will happen as the positions are quite strong. His remarks came on Monday as he prepared to chair a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers.
Borrell says “some member states have more difficulty because they are more dependent, because they are landlocked”, and “they only have oil through pipelines and from Russia”.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said “the whole union is being held hostage by a single member state.” He says countries like Hungary were offered a Russian oil phase-out until December 31, 2024, and that “everyone expected that to be enough.”
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— Russian war effort in Ukraine faces diplomatic and military obstacles
– Ukrainian singer Tina Karol, visiting Japan, says her country will rebuild
— With Eurovision victory in hand, the Ukrainian group releases a new war video
– Polish Nobel Prize-winning author Tokarczuk says Russia is a threat to the ‘free world’
– Follow all AP stories about Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
PARIS – French carmaker Renault has announced that it is selling its Russian subsidiary in Moscow and its stake in Russian company Avtovaz to a local public institute.
Renault announced on Monday that its board of directors had approved the agreement to sell its 67.69% stake in Avtovaz, the company that makes Lada, to NAMI, the automotive and engine science research institute. automobiles of the Russian Federation.
The agreement includes a six-year option for Renault to buy out its stake in Avtovaz.
Renault group CEO Luca de Meo called it a “difficult but necessary decision”.
He declares “we are making a responsible choice vis-à-vis our 45,000 employees in Russia while preserving the Group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context”.
In March, Renault announced it would suspend production at its Moscow plant amid growing criticism over its location in the Russian Federation.
BRUSSELS — Canada says it backs Finland and Sweden’s plans to join NATO amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Mélanie Joly, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke Monday in Brussels before her meeting with the highest diplomat of the European Union, Josep Borrell.
Joly said Canada favors “early membership” for both countries. “Our goal is to be among the first countries to be able to ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland,” she said. In the past, this process took eight months to a year.
Given the security crisis triggered by the war and the potential threat to Finland and Sweden, NATO nations are keen to act quickly if the pair of nations formally postulate, which they have not. not done yet.
When asked if Canada would be in favor of Ukraine joining the military alliance, Joly said his country was in favor of an “open door policy”, but refrained from endorsing such a move, which is unrealistic at this stage as it would force the allies to intervene militarily in the war-torn country.
KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces have focused their latest attacks in Ukraine on the eastern Donetsk region, targeting civilian and military sites in several towns, the Ukrainian military said Monday.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said the Russian army was also continuing its air and artillery strikes around the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the strategic city.
In the Donetsk region, he said Russian forces used a range of weapons at Ukrainian military fortifications and units and fired artillery at civilian infrastructure in the towns of Dovhenke, Ruski Tyshki, Ternova and Petrivka .
Around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, Russian forces are now focusing on “holding positions and preventing the advance of our troops towards the border”. The Ukrainian army released a video on Sunday evening showing its troops on the border in the Kharkiv region.
The Ukrainian daily rating did not detail specific gains or losses. It is very difficult to get a clear overall picture of the fighting in the east due to the strict travel restrictions imposed by both sides and the danger of frequent air and artillery strikes in the region.
LONDON — British military officials say the presence of Belarusian forces on the border could force Ukrainian troops to stay in the area instead of going to support operations in the eastern Donbass region.
Belarus, a close ally of Russia, said last week it planned to send special operations troops to three areas near the Ukrainian border as it complained about the buildup of troops from the NATO in the region. Britain’s Ministry of Defence, in an intelligence briefing released on Monday, said Belarus had also deployed air defense forces, artillery and missile units to training sites in western Belarus.
The ministry says Belarusian forces were not directly involved in the invasion of Ukraine, although Belarus was used as a staging area for Russian attacks on the cities of kyiv and Chernihiv. Russia has also launched planes and missiles from Belarusian territory.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “likely balances support for Russia’s invasion with a desire to avoid direct military involvement with the risk of Western sanctions, Ukrainian retaliation and possible dissatisfaction by the Belarusian military”, British authorities said.