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Russia Plays Hardball With Blockage of Ukraine Grain Exports | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia's weapon: blocking Ukraine grain exports

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden shares his view from Bratislava, Slovakia.

What's going to be the effect of the EU sanctions on Russian oil exports?

Well, that's going to be somewhat dependent on what happens primarily with oil price. If the oil price were to go up, then in spite of exporting less quantities, Russia will probably earn more money. If the oil price goes down or stays stable, they will be able to gain less, especially since they will have to export at significant discount prices to the people that are ready to buy their oil. So remains to be seen, but a significant step.

Is there any prospect for really releasing all of the grain for the world markets from Ukraine, that Russia is blocking?

It doesn't look very good. Russia is saying "well, well, well, we can lift the blockage of the Black Sea, but that's only if you lift all of the sanctions on us", so they're playing hardball. But effectively, they are now using the restrictions on grain and other products coming out of Ukraine as a weapon against the rest of the world. And that is of course affecting a lot of people. Different studies say that we have perhaps up to 400 million people, in the poorer part of the world, that's going to be very hardly hit by these particular aspects of the brutal Russian aggression.

Annie Gugliotta

A guide to the EU’s lukewarm Russian oil embargo

After months of diplomatic wrangling, it seemed this week like the European Union had finally made a big breakthrough in its effort to punish President Vladimir Putin for attacking Ukraine. Oil prices soared, and gas hit new highs after Brussels announced that it had reached an agreement to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

But the agreement also includes a slate of carve-outs and caveats that could dilute the bloc’s effort to decapitate the Kremlin’s war machine.

What’s in the deal?

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Migrants walk towards the Bruzgi-Kuznica Bialostocka border crossing in an attempt to cross the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno Region, Belarus November 15, 2021.

Leonid Scheglov/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: EU vs everyone, Austria vs the unvaccinated, India vs smog, Barbados vs real world

The EU targets "everyone!" The EU on Monday unanimously agreed to impose fresh sanctions on "everyone involved" in bringing migrants to the Belarus-Poland border, where a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis continues as thousands of asylum-seekers shiver in makeshift camps. Brussels says Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has deliberately created this crisis to strike back against existing EU sanctions that were imposed in response to his sham re-election last year and his hijacking of a RyanAir flight this summer. Reports show that Belarus loosened visa restrictions for migrants — largely from Iraq — to serve as a transit point for migrants hoping to cross the EU border to apply for asylum. Details of the new sanctions aren't yet decided, but they are likely to target political officials, travel agencies, and airlines. Lukashenko has vowed to fight back, but he won't cut off the Russian gas flows that traverse his country on the way to Europe — Vladimir Putin quickly slapped down that possibility after Lukashenko raised it over the weekend. The question remains: will EU sanctions change Belarus' behavior?

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Lukashenko’s Exploiting Migrants To Pressure EU Over Sanctions | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Belarus president exploiting migrants to pressure EU on sanctions

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What's the nature of the migration crisis between Belarus and Poland?

Well, it's not a migration crisis, really. It's a question of the weaponization of the misery of people. Lukashenko wants to, sort of, exert pressure on Poland and on the European Union because of the sanctions that are imposed upon him for his undemocratic behavior. And that is importing miserable people from the Middle East, flying them into Minsk, probably at great expense to them, and then effectively forcing them over the border to Poland. That has to be stopped, and a number of measures are underway to do that. It's really an unacceptable way of exploiting people.

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Mario Draghi Will Become Italy’s New PM | EU Weighs Myanmar Reaction | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Mario Draghi will become Italy's new PM; EU weighs Myanmar reaction

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

What's happening in Italy and can Mario Draghi fix it?

Mario Draghi will now take over political leadership of Italy as prime minister. That's a very major development. He has a lot of credibility in Europe, certainly, but also in Italy. And I think that he will now have a political momentum for at least a couple of months that I hope that he can use to press through some of these fundamental economic and other reforms that Italy and equally Europe so desperately needs. It's a very major development indeed.

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EU Belarus Sanctions Agreement Blocked By Cyprus | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

EU Belarus sanctions agreement blocked by Cyprus

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:


Why can't Europe agree on Belarus sanctions?


I think they can agree but the problem is that Cyprus has blocked. There's a veto right inside the European Union and they have blocked everything. I mean, everyone agrees, all of other Member States agrees that we should have had those sanctions in place. But the Cypriots have their own views. And then they are blackmailing, they are saying you have to sanction Turkey as well, at the same time. And most other states say there's no connection between the two. So, we do have somewhat of a constitutional crisis over foreign affairs inside the European Union. Distinctly not a good situation.

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