latest world news | Borrell likens the sanctions against Russia to a "diet"

Even if the limits don't immediately affect Moscow, they should still be in place, according to the EU's top diplomat.

According to Josep Borrell, the senior diplomat for the EU, sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war should not be lifted even if they don't have an immediate impact because they act as a "diet."

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs remarked on requests from the Western Balkans requesting Brussels to lift anti-Russian restrictions, saying the EU "must push the point that sanctions are working" at a plenary session of the European Parliament.

Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Serbia, predicted this week that Europe would experience a "polar" winter in 2019, largely as a result of the sanctions the EU has imposed on Russia, which have an impact on the energy industry. Although Serbia is not a member of the EU, the nation will unavoidably suffer from the restrictions because its energy supply routes pass through EU nations.

"We can't end the sanctions until they've had their intended impact. They might not be felt right away. It's comparable to starting a weight-loss program and getting discouraged after a few weeks because you haven't lost a tonne of weight, the diplomat added.

The sanctions "diet," in Borrell's words, must continue, or the weight you've already dropped "will be very quickly put back on again."

The top diplomat maintained that despite the extensive sanctions the EU has placed on Russia because of its military campaign in Ukraine, it still needs to communicate with the Russian government.

There are some issues that we need to discuss with the President of Russia, he said, adding that diplomats are educated to speak to everyone.

Borrell thinks that the West should communicate with Russia specifically on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, which Moscow claims has been repeatedly shelled by Kyiv's soldiers.

The ambassador advised the EU to bring up the security of the facility with Russia because there is "no one else to talk to" about it besides Moscow.

He emphasized that "there are some issues that could not be addressed without active engagement from the Russian authorities" and gave the UN-and-Turkey-brokered agreement to open the Black Sea to grain exports from Ukraine as another illustration.

The EU economy has been severely harmed by the anti-Russian sanctions, and it now has to deal with skyrocketing inflation and an energy crisis that is largely due to the bloc's decision to cut itself off from Russian oil and the closure of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

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