EU president to discuss new sanctions package with Italian prime minister

Amid the escalating war in Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday to discuss the new sanctions package they are working on. In a statement, in view of the “recklessness” of the Kremlin, Leyen informed that the European Commission and Italy are looking forward to imposing new sanctions and will ensure that the effect of the sanctions is “maximised”.

“We are going to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the war waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the new sanctions implementation package that we are working on. As you know, we already had three tough sanctions packages, but now we have to make sure that there are no loopholes and that the effect of the sanctions is maximized. The sanctions in place are really biting as we see the downward turmoil in the Russian economy. But considering of the Kremlin’s disregard for civilians, including women, children, men, we are also working on new sanctions,” said the President of the European Commission.

Leyen also added that their second topic of discussion will be energy as they plan to “get rid of dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal”. She said: “The commission will present proposals tomorrow and there are three main pillars. The first is diversification of supply away from Russia and towards reliable suppliers. It is mainly energy and gas pipeline and both have the advantage that the infrastructure is compatible with hydrogen over time. The second main element is repower, which means massive investments such as solar. The third pillar is energy efficiency, therefore renovation of buildings with smart industrial processes. Finally, the main focus of our discussion will be on consumer protection.”

Kiev rejects humanitarian corridors to Belarus and Russia

While the Russian army, on the 12th day of its invasion, declared a ceasefire in Ukraine from 7:00 GMT to open humanitarian corridors, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko rejected humanitarian corridors to the Russia and Belarus. Russia’s proposal to evacuate civilians from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy is not an acceptable option for Ukraine because humanitarian corridors lead mainly to Russian cities.

Meanwhile, the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are due to meet for the third round of peace talks, even though the first two rounds did not result in a ceasefire. The peace talks will take place in Belarus. During their second round of talks, the two countries agreed on a ceasefire and a safe passage corridor for people. In a phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia is open to negotiation with Ukraine, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed hope that Kyiv will take a reasonable and constructive approach in the third round of talks. Adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who participated in the first two rounds of talks, said on Saturday that negotiations with Russia were beginning to be “constructive”.

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