Economic sanctions remain the key instrument in the bloc's response to Moscow's ?aggression,? Josep Borrell said
The European Union does not want a war with Russia, the bloc's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said, adding that economic pressure remains the key instrument in countering Moscow's "aggression" in Ukraine.
Writing for the Japanese outlet Yomiuri, the EU's foreign policy chief said that the six packages of sanctions imposed on Moscow by the EU since late February have demonstrated that the bloc "can respond as Europe when provoked."
"The EU does not want a war with Russia, and economic sanctions are central to its response to the aggression," Borrell wrote.
Pointing out that the restrictions currently target about 1,200 individuals and 98 organizations in Russia, he claimed that they "have already begun to take effect and will increase further in the coming months."
"As far as advanced technology is concerned, Russia depends 45% on Europe and 21% on the United States. Only 11% for China," he claimed, adding that the sanctions also limit the production capacity of precision missiles, which are being used in Ukraine. Borrell also mentioned automobile manufacturing, aviation and oil industries as the most affected by the sanctions.
In Borrell's opinion, one of "many miscalculations" Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly made was that he "probably thought that Europe was dependent on energy and would not have the courage to impose sanctions."
The top EU diplomat admitted that the measures taken against Moscow have also brought "serious difficulties to many EU member states and some sectors of the economy."
"But this is the price to pay to protect democracies and international law, and we are taking the necessary steps to address these issues in full solidarity," he stressed.
Meanwhile, back in April, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the EU of devolving to the level of "NATO's economic relations department." She said this in response to Borrell's tweet that the Ukrainian conflict "will be won on the battlefield."
Since the end of February, EU countries have been actively supplying Ukraine with weapons, despite multiple warnings from Russia that this would only prolong the conflict.
Commenting in mid-June on the economic sanctions against Moscow, Putin called them "insane and thoughtless." However, the Western attempts to "strike industry, finance and the standard of living of the people" have failed, the Russian president said.
Previously, he accused European leaders of sacrificing their own economies to bolster Ukraine's war effort, claiming that they were committing economic "suicide" under "pressure from their American overlord."