VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Thursday called on the European Commission to assess the impact of the EU’s sanctions against Russia, saying that they basically do not affect the country’s energy sector.
The EU needs to “adjust its course” to put more pressure on Russia, which is continuing its invasion of Ukraine, Nauseda said at a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Vilnius.
“Paradoxically, the sanctions policy is having just as much impact on our economies, while the consequences for the Russian economy are, I’d say, contradictory,” the Lithuanian president said.
“The (Romanian) president and I noted that Gazprom’s financial results are far from bad, because despite the fact that they sold much less gas, they managed to profit from the sharp rise in gas prices,” Nauseda said.
“This means that we need, and we are calling on the European Commission to do so, to assess the impact of our sanctions policy, to evaluate the intermediate results and to adjust the course,” he added.
Nauseda said that Lithuania has always been on the “side of the boldest sanctions” and that he is now urging the EU to adopt as soon as possible a ninth package of sanctions to cover as wide a range of areas and individuals as possible.
“This must be a major step forward to include the military industry, to include the remaining Russian banks in the deswiftening, and to include Rosatom, which is directly involved in this nuclear aggression against Ukraine. Not to mention the Constitutional Court’s judges and all the others who are contributing to the criminal regime’s actions in Ukraine,” the Lithuanian leader said.
“I do hope that we will be able to take that step and find a consensus among EU member countries,” he added.
Iohannis said that he shared the position that “tougher measures” should be taken against Russia.
“As for sanctions, (…) we discussed this issue during our meeting. Tougher measures on our part are needed,” the Romanian leader told reporters.
“Work is underway and progress is being made on this issue, but we are not in a position to disclose the content of sanctions. As soon as we have clearer information, I think we could disclose the content of the sanctions,” he said.
The EU has already imposed eight packages of unprecedented sanctions targeting Russian oil exports and top officials since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to attack Ukraine in February.
European diplomats say that a new package of sanctions is being prepared following Russia’s latest barrage of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.