Ukrainian glass half full after EU Summit in Versailles
In a statement published after hours of debate at a European Council summit at the Palace of Versailles, the leaders “acknowledged the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine” and noted that its membership application had been “swiftly” transmitted to the European Commission for “its opinion” — the initial stage of a long process toward being declared a candidate country and beginning membership talks.
In this connection, the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda expressed his confidence that the leaders of the EU member states support the European integration of Ukraine. He wrote that the heroic Ukrainian nation deserves to know that they are welcome in EU. The Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas said they need to give Ukraine European perspective: “Ukrainians not only for Ukraine, but for the whole Europe”.
Moscow circles believe EU glass of Ukraine is empty
The process of considering Ukraine’s EU membership bid may take months or even years, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters. “We all are aware of the incredibly difficult situation, in which Ukraine has found itself amid the Russian attack, and we are shocked by what is happening,” he said, being quoted by TASS.
The Republic of Moldova is to also go through the whole set of difficult procedures for joining the EU.
Lukashenko to be punished alongside Putin
The participants in the informal meeting of EU leaders of March 10-11 said Belarus, alongside Russia, bears responsibility for the war in Ukraine.
“Two weeks ago Russia brought war back to Europe. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines European and global security and stability. It is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. Russia, and its accomplice Belarus, bear full responsibility for this war of aggression and those responsible will be held to account for their crimes, including for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian objects. In this respect we welcome the decision of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation. We call for the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities to be ensured immediately with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” says a statement issued after the summit.
Without evil there is no good
The Russian authorities for the first time admitted that the sanctions imposed against Russia for the war in Ukraine hinder oil companies from exporting oil and oil products. According to Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Novak, the operations for March were completed, while the contracts for April are in question.
The head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia Maxim Shaskolskiy said the wholesale gasoline prices in different regions of Russia declined and retail prices are also expected to decrease.
In Europe, owing to the problems related to oil transportation, fuel prices soared. The prices in a number of countries almost doubled during two weeks.
Russia, as Cuba and North Korea
President Joe Biden announced Friday the U.S. will dramatically downgrade its trade status with Russia as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine and also ban imports of Russian seafood, alcohol and diamonds. The broad trade shift, which revokes the “most favored nation” status for Russia, is being taken in coordination with the European Union and Group of Seven countries.
Stripping most favored nation status from Russia would allow the U.S. and allies to impose higher tariffs on some Russian imports, increasing the isolation of the Russian economy.
According to Bloomberg, the suspension of normal commercial relations with the U.S. will place Russia in the circle of such countries as Cuba and North Korea.
Washington hopes the sanctions will change the course of Russian administration and will stop the conflict in Ukraine, but they cannot say when this will happened, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
As in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the green light on Friday for up to 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East to be deployed alongside Russian-backed rebels to fight in Ukraine. The Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said it goes to volunteers who want to take part in “national liberation fighting”.
Mihail Podoliak, of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said the use of mercenaries by Russia and the propagandistic assertions about chemical weapons are a proof of the attempt to implement the Syrian scenario in Ukraine.
Ukrainian MP Fyodor Venislavski said that detachments of soldiers of Kadyrov’s army will encircle the Russian troops that will besiege Kyiv so as to fire at those who will try to escape. The Russian Federation uses the war methods of Stalin and Hitler.
Putin places spies under arrest
The Russian language source Meduza said Putin started to suppress the Fifth Service of the FSB, which before the war furnished him with data about the political situation in Ukraine. The head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence branch Sergey Beseda and his deputy Boluh were arrested.