The European Union already imposed sanctions on Russia in March over its stealth invasion and annexation of Crimea, but those lacked teeth. In the week after Russian-backed separatist accidentally shot down Malaysia Flight MH17 on July 17, killing 298 people, some EU members have urged much tougher sanctions.
Furthermore, imposing sanctions requires agreement from all 28 EU member states .
Another key factor is Europe’s reliance on Russian gas. Interestingly, several countries that import a significant amount of Russian gas are pro-sanctions while others that do not import any Russian gas are still against sanctions.
Nevertheless, there’s no collective political will to truly punish Vladimir Putin as long as Russian companies are supplying about 30% of Europe’s gas. In fact, Ukraine claims that EU energy companies are sending less gas to Ukraine because of threats from Russian state oil giant Gazprom.
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