The EU countries have launched a ninth package of sanctions against Russia. The committee of permanent representatives of the member states unanimously approved the plans on Thursday evening on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels. They provide for new punitive measures against banks and additional trade restrictions, as confirmed by several diplomats from the German Press Agency.

The new package of sanctions was actually supposed to be decided on Wednesday at the last EU summit of the year in Brussels – but the Baltic states and Poland blocked the package from being passed.

The reason for this is the exceptions for grain and fertilizer exports proposed by several western countries. “If a political loophole were created on such a scale that all EU countries would agree to, I believe it would serve not only to resolve these specific cases but probably also to circumvent sanctions,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said according to the agency BNS on Thursday in Vilnius. It is still unclear to what extent this point of contention could be resolved on Thursday evening.

More to come