As the diplomatic tone between Russia and the West has reached a new level after the shelling of Mariupol which left at least 30 people dead, a new round of sanctions against Russia is being discussed among European politicians. Originally an ease of sanctions against Russia should have been discussed in March especially as representatives of European companies doing business in Russia are lobbying this. With the current development and the clear escalation of the conflict in Ukraine together with an perceived brutalization of the conflict transmitted via diverse social media channels, an ease or even end of the sanctions against Russia currently seem unrealistic.
In face of these developments the chairman of the European Greens, Rebecca Harms, told German magazine ZEIT-Online that new sanctions should target the bank sector (SWIFT) or Russian state owned Rosatom which is currently planning a disputed nuclear power plant in Finland’s Pyhäjoki and another project in Hungary. For Finland which is currently suffering under economic hardship which have worsened due to the Ukraine crisis, sanctions against Rosatom would be a major blow back as the deal with Rosatom is allegedly linked to hydro-power projects in Russia where Finnish state owned Fortum is aiming to get a foot in.
However, Harms also stated that new sanctions would require unanimity of the EU-leaders, a condition that could be hard to achieve as for example Finland is holding parliamentary elections in May this year and Putin will do everything to divide opinions in the EU in order to prevent more sanctions against Russia.