Friday, March 7, 2014 - 06:49
Rutte flip-flops on Russia sanctions
The European Union is going to enforce measures against Russia because of their military intervention in Ukraine. The first sanctions that the EU has proposed against Russia are "a totally logical next step." This is what Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday after the emergency EU meeting about Ukraine in Brussels. Before the talks, Rutte still thought it too early for sanctions, but changed his mind after the developments this Thursday in Crimea. He aimed at the announcement of a referendum in Crimea about possible separation from Ukraine and connection to Russia. "We can't now continue talks with Russia about traveling without visa. That would be crazy." The EU is calling on Russia to have talks with Ukraine. At the same time, the EU is continuing preparations for other sanctions. "Just because we're preparing sanctions, doesn't yet mean that we are imposing them", the Prime Minister said. Rutte is looking at the decision as a good balance between the pressure on Russia and the search for a diplomatic solution. This has top priority. Rutte said that the negotiations between Russia and the former Soviet republic must take place in "the next few days". "We are in a rush." Rutte has called the situation in Crimea "extraordinarily worrisome." According the PM, it is conveivable that the relation between Russia and the West in the EU will be a bad one "for years" to come "if everyone doesn't keep a cool head." Rutte called the actions of Russia "politically, socially and morally contemptible and totally unacceptable." He called the outcome of the Brussels talks "balanced and wise." All the EU countries have voiced their support on this, the PM said.