Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The cronies of Mr Putin and his clique in the Kremlin are the people who have to bear the pressure

Said : UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Commenting on the EU's enhanced sanctions.

EU sanctions on Russia : French want British to act first by curbing Russian oligarchs who have sought refuge in London.  
The US and UK have asked France to cancel the US$1.6 billion deal for the supply of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia in view of Moscow's role in the Ukrainian crisis. They have even suggested France to sell these ships to the NATO instead of Russia. However, French President Francois Hollande said that the plan to deliver the two Mistral helicopter carriers was made in Paris and will go forward despite calls from the US and UK.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that the order is "unthinkable,” calling for tougher sanctions and to halt all arms sales to Russia.  He urged the EU to extend sanctions to the arms sector.

“The Russians have paid. Should we repay 1.1 billion euros if the boat was not delivered to the purchaser?” he asked while speaking to reporters late on Monday – the night before EU foreign ministers are to meet in Brussels to discuss tougher sanctions on Russia following the downing of a Malaysian airline which left 298 dead, reported rt.com.

Hollande’s decision has found support among French officials, despite going against the wishes of the US and UK.

Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, head of Hollande's ruling Socialist Party, told iTélé television on Tuesday : "Hollande is not backing down. He is delivering the first (ship) despite the fact he is being asked not to." "This is a false debate led by hypocrites...When you see how many (Russian) oligarchs have sought refuge in London, David Cameron should start by cleaning up his own backyard," he continued. 

According to BBC, a new sanctions list naming individuals and organisations will be drawn up by EU ambassadors by Thursday, Mr Timmermans told reporters after meeting his EU colleagues in Brussels. The sanctions would be aimed at forcing Russia to help defuse the Ukraine conflict and put pressure on the rebels to disarm. But the BBC's Europe editor Gavin Hewitt says it is still unclear if EU leaders will be prepared to accept harm to their own economies in order to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Philip Hammond
The EU and US have imposed asset freezes and travel bans on some top Russian officials, military commanders and companies since Moscow's annexation of Crimea in March. The US has gone further than the EU in targeting members of President Putin's inner circle.

BBC has quoted UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond's comments on the EU's enhanced sanctions. Hammond said : "the word is 'cronies': the cronies of Mr Putin and his clique in the Kremlin are the people who have to bear the pressure". "If the financial interests of the group around the leadership are affected, the leadership will know about it."

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