EU state threatens to block new sanctions on Russia

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Slovakia has rejected Brussels’ proposal to add nuclear fuel supplies to the upcoming round of penalties

The government of Slovakia will not support restrictions on imports of nuclear fuel from Russia as part of a 12th package of EU sanctions that is currently being discussed by member states, the country’s Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar said on Saturday.

According to the Blanar, Bratislava will not block the much-debated batch of penalties on Moscow, on the condition that the ban on nuclear fuel is removed.

“It is the red line for us… Our nuclear power plants cannot yet switch to alternative fuel. This [nuclear-related clause] definitely cannot be there,” Blanar said, referring to the new package.

At the same time, Blanar cast doubt on the efficiency of the entire sanctions policy being pursued by the EU since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

“The 11 packages of sanctions failed to stop Russia, while the EU economy is moving towards recession,” the diplomat claimed, adding that prices of food and fuel in Slovakia have soared as a result of sanctions that were supposed to target Moscow.

Slovakia – along with Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary – continues to buy critical nuclear fuel for its four Soviet-designed reactors from Russia, which owns about 50% of the world’s uranium enrichment infrastructure, critical to the production of nuclear fuel.

The EU authorities are currently working on a new set of sanctions against Russia, expected to target 120 individuals and entities.

The proposals reportedly include measures to cut off Moscow’s access to commercial revenues by imposing a complete ban on the sale of Russian diamonds and jewelry. The package may introduce additional restrictions on exports to Russia, including a ban on the sale of certain chemicals, lithium batteries, thermostats and motors for drones, as well as machine tools and machinery parts that can be used to produce weapons.

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