The High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security of the European Union, Josep Borrell, has assured this Saturday that international sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine are «taking effect» and has called for «strategic patience» on the resulting energy crisis because «it is the price to pay to defend democracy».
«Sanctions require strategic patience because it can take a long time for them to have the desired effect,» Borrell explained in his personal blog in a text in which he recalled that, since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Brussels has adopted six packages of sanctions against Moscow, targeting nearly 1200 people and almost 100 entities in Russia.
Borrell defended that sanctions, including restrictions on the purchase of Russian oil, «remain an important instrument of political action».
The EU’s top diplomat acknowledged that «Russia can sell its oil to other markets but this benefit is limited by the fact that Russia is forced to offer large discounts for each barrel», before indicating that this restriction «frees Europe from its energy dependence on Russia», an issue long on the table in Brussels.
«Reducing our structural energy dependence on Russia matters a lot because this dependence has been an obstacle to developing a strong European policy in the face of Moscow’s aggressive actions,» he expanded on this, in what he described as a European process of «detoxification» from Russian energy.
«By breaking its energy dependence, in line with its climate ambition, the EU is learning that interdependence is not always a neutral and win-win instrument,» he said.
Borrell has defended the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia, which is now trying to replace imports with domestic products; a relatively successful policy in the agricultural sector but «much more difficult to achieve» in high-tech products.
«Sanctions on semiconductor imports, for example, have a direct impact on Russian companies producing consumer electronics, computers, aircraft, automobiles or military equipment,» Borrell gave as an example.
The diplomat warned that the war «will be long» and the «test» hard, but «allowing Russia to prevail would mean allowing the destruction of democracies and the very basis of the world order based on international rules.»
To the countries most vulnerable to the crisis, such as those in Africa, Borrell extended the EU’s hand. «We stand ready to help with any difficulties they may encounter in relation to our sanctions, while urging them not to be misled by the lies and misinformation of the Russian authorities on this issue,» he said.
«Since we do not want to go to war with Russia, economic sanctions and Ukraine’s support are at the heart of this response. And our sanctions are beginning to take effect and will do so even more in the coming months,» he concluded.