Russia turning 'irrational' with nuclear plant threat
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The bloc has been importing copious amounts of Russian energy since the beginning of the year, despite Moscow’s attack on Ukraine since February 24.
Exposing Brussels’ staggering figures, Robin Brooks, Chief Economist at the IIF, tweeted: “EU imports of Russian Energy:
“1. Oil: Jan – May 21 – €25 bn; Jan – May 22: €43 bn => +71 percent.
“2. Gas: Jan – May 21: €6 bn; Jan – May 22: €21 bn => +260 percent.
“3. Coal: Jan – May 21: €1.5 bn; Jan – May 22: €4.0 bn => +170 percent.”
Commenting on the figures, Twitter user Jay in Kyiv replied: “EU pouring record levels of cash into Putin’s war machine.”
It comes as Ukraine’s president called on the West to impose a blanket travel ban on Russians, an idea that has found support among some European states but angered Moscow, which pressed on with a fierce military offensive in eastern Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s idea looked likely to divide the European Union, where differences on how to deal with Moscow have long persisted between some eastern and western members.
Mr Zelensky made his proposal in an interview with the Washington Post as Ukraine halted flows of Russian oil to some eastern European countries due to a sanctions-related payment issue.
The Ukrainian President wants a one-year travel ban and the apparent expulsion of Russians living in the West so that they could live “in their own world until they change their philosophy.” He complained that sanctions imposed so far on Russia to punish it for invading his country on Feb. 24 were too weak.
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“Whichever kind of Russian … make them go to Russia,” Mr Zelensky was quoted as saying. “They’ll understand then.
“They’ll say, ‘This (war) has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible, can it?’ It can.”
Mr Zelensky was quoted as saying the ban should also extend to Russians who had fled since the start of the war in late February because they disagreed with President Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin dismissed Mr Zelensky’s words. “Any attempt to isolate Russia or Russians is a process that has no prospects,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Other Russian officials have questioned the legality of such restrictions, suggesting they would infringe Russians’ rights.
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There was support from Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who said she thought it was time for the EU to stop issuing visas to Russians. “Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” Kallas tweeted.
Other countries which have traditionally enjoyed closer ties to Russia such as Hungary are, however, likely to oppose an EU ban.
Moreover, the European Commission has questioned its feasibility, saying certain categories such as family members, journalists and dissidents should always be granted visas.
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