French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius promised a new round of European Union sanctions against Russia as soon as next week. That’s not going to happen, by all accounts.
Any EU sanctions have to be unanimous among the member nations, and the already existing divisions over the push for sanctions are only growing as predictions of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine haven’t panned out.
“If Russia doesn’t cross the red line of direct military intervention, then I don’t expect the EU to cross the red line of economic sanctions,” admitted former EU official Stefan Lehne.
Several EU nations already saw a sanctions war with Russia as a losing proposition, with their economies so dependent on Russian energy. Hawkish nations, led by France and Britain, have been unconditionally supportive of sanctions, mostly at the behest of the US, and all have pushed them as a preemptive strike against a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But Russia hasn’t invaded Ukraine, and the claims of Russia being somehow linked to protests in eastern Ukraine aren’t exactly a great substitute excuse, so now the nations that were already sanctions-averse are feeling, quite reasonably, they were sold a bill of goods on the first two rounds, and are fighting all the harder to see the sanctions stopped here.