EU considers sanctions against Russia: France | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 29, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 29, 2008

EU considers sanctions against Russia: France

Moscow warns Nato as West fumes over Georgia

Some EU states are considering imposing sanctions on Russia when they hold an emergency summit next week on the Georgian crisis, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said yesterday.
"Sanctions are being considered, and many other means" at next Monday's meeting in Brussels, said Kouchner, whose country holds the European Union presidency.
It was the first time that Paris evoked the possibility of sanctions against Moscow.
"We are trying to draw up a strong text showing our desire not to accept" the situation in Georgia, he told reporters.
He said he did not want to "prefigure" what the sanctions might be and that it was the role of France as holder of the EU presidency to forge a common united front on the Georgia crisis.
Kouchner said in a later interview with Europe 1 radio, however, that France was not planning sanctions.
"I simply said that some countries were thinking of sanctions. France is not thinking of them," he said
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shrugged off the threat of sanctions, saying it was made "just because they're upset that the 'little pet' of certain Western capitals didn't fulfill their expectations."
Lavrov suggested the French foreign minister had a "sick imagination" after Kouchner argued Wednesday that Moscow might have designs on Ukraine, Crimea and Moldova.
Russia is facing an avalanche of condemnation from the West over its decision to recognise the independence of two Georgian secessionist regions at the heart of the conflict that erupted in the ex-Soviet republic this month.
Moscow has reacted angrily to Western criticism, saying it fails to recognise that Moscow used military force only in response to a Georgian attack against South Ossetia, where tens of thousands of Russian citizens live.
Russia accused the West on Wednesday of ratcheting up tensions in the Black Sea with an increased Nato naval presence and warned against isolating Moscow over the conflict in Georgia.
Amid a war of words over Russia's decision on Tuesday to recognise the independence of two Georgian rebel regions, Tbilisi said it was downgrading diplomatic ties with Moscow.
Russian officials said they were taking extra measures to monitor a growing Nato naval presence in the Black Sea, as the second of three US ships sent to deliver aid arrived in Georgia.
Moscow has accused the West of using aid shipments as a cover for rearming Georgia after the Russian military's surge into Georgia earlier this month left much of the Georgian military in tatters.
"Certainly some measures of precaution are being taken," said a spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov. "It's not a common practice to deliver humanitarian aide using battleships."
A senior Russian general, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, pointed to an international convention of 1936 limiting shipping levels in the Black Sea and warned the Nato presence could not continue indefinitely.

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