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EU not ready to sanction Central Asian states for assistance to Russia

The European Union supplemented the new sanctions against Russia with a mechanism that allows imposing restrictions against third countries that are helping Russia evade sanctions. At the same time, it will become a last-resort mechanism, Politico reports.

According to the media outlet, citing sources, some EU members fear that sanctions for helping Russia will damage diplomatic relations with third countries and push them even closer to Russia and China.

«We don’t want to risk jumping straight into the punitive measures, which has a huge potential downside risk of pushing those companies, especially those in Central Asia, into the arms of Putin. And that’s the exact opposite of what we wanted,» an EU diplomat, who was granted, said.

The publication also says that some EU member states, including Germany, fear that sanctions against third countries will harm diplomatic relations and may push these states even closer to Russia and China, alienating them from the EU. Therefore, some EU countries insist that the mechanism remains a tool only for the most extreme case.

Diplomats of the EU also signed off on an additional statement that sets out the procedure for sanctioning third countries. The statement emphasizes the need to monitor implementation and help third countries remedy a situation in which the measures might be circumvented, and sets out that diplomatic outreach and targeted technical assistance should take priority over punishing the countries.

Recall, the EU approved the eleventh package of sanctions against Russia on June 23.

In May 2023, the leaders of the G7 countries issued a joint statement in which they outlined plans for cooperation with the states of Central Asia to combat global challenges, including the military conflict in Ukraine. The statement was drawn up following the results of the Hiroshima summit and published on the White House website.