EU MUST ACT: Hunt to demand Brussels puts chemical weapons sanctions on Russia

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Posted on Oct 15 2018 - 5:39pm by admin

The Foreign Secretary plans to call for talks over the bloc’s response to alleged malicious Russian activity on the continent. 

He will also demand talks on cyber-related sanctions to be stepped up when EU’s foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg.

His intervention comes as the EU is trying to figure out how to deal with Vladimir Putin’s government. One EU diplomat, who  favours the new sanctions, said pressure must not be relaxed on Russia.

They told the Financial Times: “That would break the unity around the political message and the narrative.

“That would be considered a victory in Moscow.”

Russia faced asset freezes, travel bans and investment restrictions in 2014 after Putin’s annexations of Crimea.

A legal framework for chemical weapons sanctions was drafted after the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was poisoned by a deadly nerve agent in March in Salisbury.

Mr Hunt wants to “use the momentum” to add pressure to name people and groups responsible for the use and distribution of chemical weapons internationally. 

No details have been given so far of whom the UK wants to target with the sanctions.

The sanctions typically include travel bans and freezing individual’s assets.

Mr Hunt will also put pressure on calling for sanctions against culprits of malicious cyber-activity. 

The proposal has also been put forward with the Netherlands and other EU member states.

These governments have already accused Russia of a cyber crime spree that targeted authorities currently investigating the Kremlin. The international chemical weapons watchdog was one of the targets.

Putin has denied responsibility for both the cyber attacks and the Salisbury poisoning.

Tensions between Russia and EU countries have grown because the parties that have been sympathetic to the Kremlin have made waves in elections.

Italy has made small, but symbolic efforts with Moscow such as reviewing if EU funds can be used to support small businesses in Russia.

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