France - Europe - Russia - 
Article published the Tuesday 22 July 2014 - Latest update : Tuesday 22 July 2014

France on the spot as Ukraine crisis sanctions against Russia divide Europe

Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Donetsk region, 22 July 2014.
Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Donetsk region, 22 July 2014.
Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev

By RFI

A call for an arms embargo on Tuesday puts France in a difficult position and divides EU foreign ministers who want tougher sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

The downing of the Malaysian airlines flight MH17 last week, allegedly by pro-Moscow rebels using Russian arms, has changed the European position and "require a much tougher response," said Britain Foreign Minister Philip Hammond.

"It is time for an arms embargo, time to wake up a bit", said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius. "We are talking about a terrorist act."

"We cannot go on doing business as usual with a country when it's behaving in this way", said British Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement to parliament, as he pushed the EU to enter its "Phase 3" sanctions, which target economic sectors and cause much more pain for all sides.

This situation has divided Paris and London, as François Hollande said the agreement to supply Russia with two Mistral warships is still in place - but Hollande added the delivery of the second Mistral ship would "depend on Russia's attitude."

But this gap is not only felt on both sides of the Channel.

Most of the poorest European countries rely on strong Russian economic ties, mainly for energy and could be badly affected by economic sanctions.

Germany, often criticised for being slow to act, conceded that something has to be done after the downing of the Malaysian airline but favours dialogue.

"We remain ready to help with political and diplomatic means to help de-escalate the situation", said Germain Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The severity of the European response will mainly depend on the Netherlands, which  suffered the most important losses in the Malaysian MH17 crash.

tags: France - European Union - Russia - Ukraine - Embargo - Sanctions - Arms - Navy - Boeing - crash - Foreign policy
Related articles
React to the article
Commentez cette article en tapant votre message dans la zone de texte. Le nombre de caractères est limité à 1500 ou moins.
(1) Reaction

Malaysian Airlines flight

Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17: The horrific journey from 32000 feet – and Why
Their blood instantly coagulated and the air was forced from their lungs as the air pressure inside the airliner changed in a flash. At the altitude they were flying there was no oxygen. That is why they are “frozen in time.” The heat form the explosion caused the bodies to smell. The fall from such a height, 32000 feet to the ground, cooled them off. Thus – the flash coagulation, the smell from combustion, and the cooling from traveling through different levels of the atmosphere to the ground – led to the absurd claims from the Pro-Russian Terrorists, that “the plane had been carrying corpses.”
This in itself of course is no reason to take any action or hold accountable Russia, because money is thicker than blood.
Surveys have confirmed that Crimea, Crimean waters, and the Donbass basin in Ukraine, contain more energy reserves than almost any country: http://www.albertacanada.com/files/albertacanada/AIS-OG_MinEcology-Goncharuk_eng.pdf
Rest comfortably in your homes this winter understanding that the price you pay for Russian natural gas is not simply the $400.00 per thousand cubic metres ($200.00 more than Beijing recently negotiated with Moscow), it is the nearly 200 lives of European Union men, women, and children it killed continuing to take over Ukraine’s untapped oil fields.

Close