Several EU countries including Britain, France, and Germany, are exploring the possibility of imposing sanctions against Russia due to the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo, as reported by the Financial Times, citing a high-ranking diplomat in the EU.
As Reuters notes, citing French and British diplomats, the possibility of adding up to 12 names to the ‘Syrian sanctions list’ is being considered. However, for these measures to be adopted, they must be approved by all 28 countries of the EU, the agency emphasized.
According to the Financial Times’ sources, the UK, France, and Germany are also in favor of the imposition of sanctions against a maximum of 20 Syrian officials. As Reuters notes, the possible extension of the EU sanctions list may be a response to the bombardment in Aleppo.
Individual sanctions such as a ban on entering the EU and the freezing of assets have already been applied to 200 people and 70 legal entities of Syria, whom the EU considers to be responsible for the repression of the Syrian population. Restrictive measures against Syria also include an oil embargo, restrictions on the number of investments, freezing the assets of the Syrian Central Bank, restrictions on the export of equipment and technology that can be used for repression, surveillance, and interception of Internet traffic and telephone conversations.
On Monday, a diplomatic source in Brussels told RIA Novosti that at the next EU meeting on October 17, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union member countries may discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Moscow due to the situation in Syria. As stated by the Russian Permanent Representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, the EU is unlikely to approve the restrictive measures on October 17.
In recent months, the situation in Aleppo has become dramatically worse; heavy battles are being fought in the city and surrounding areas. U.S. authorities accuse Syria and Russia of bombing civilians as well as the armed opposition. Damascus and Moscow insist that they are striking blows only to the terrorists and accuse Washington of failing to influence the ‘moderate opposition’ troops to separate themselves from the terrorists.
Earlier, a State Department spokesman said that the United States has not ruled out the imposition of sanctions against Moscow if diplomacy regarding Syria fails. A spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, in turn, said that the Kremlin does not see any reasons for restrictions, as Russia is the only country that is legitimately fighting terrorism in Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also expressed the hope that common sense will prevail over the desire to accuse Moscow.