EU partially bans Russian oil, Jaishankar bound for East Europe
The Ukraine war poses a serious security threat to East European countries and the Baltic States but it is business as usual for western European nations like France, Portugal and Spain. With the US finding its mojo back in Europe and Russia having a tiger by the tail, there is no incentive to end the raging conflict.
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar leaves for eastern and central Europe on Wednesday night for assessment of Ukraine war on ground and its fall-out in the region as European Union after much vacillation has partially banned Russian oil imports. The EU is expected to cut oil imports from Russia by 90 per cent by the end of 2022.
It is learnt that EAM Jaishankar will be visiting Bratislava in Slovakia and Prague in the Czech Republic, where he served as Indian ambassador two decades ago, among other countries in the region to thank East and Central Europe countries for Operation Ganga and have a firsthand assessment of the fall-out of the Ukraine war. Under Operation Ganga, the Modi government evacuated more than 23,000 Indian nationals from war torn Ukraine in February-March this year.
The European visit comes after Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto met EAM Jaishankar in the Capital on May 27 and shared a frank discussion on the prolonged Ukraine war and its “knock on effects” in different domains. It was the Hungarian FM who conveyed the need for India to remain constantly engaged with East and Central European countries as well as the European Union.
With Russian forces still engaged in cementing their military claims over eastern region of Donbas and Luhansk in Ukraine, the war poses a serious security threat to eastern, central, and Baltic states of Europe with business as usual for western Europe. While war watchers believe that Russia will negotiate for peace with Kyiv after occupying the eastern part of Ukraine along with an iron clad guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO, the East Europeans believe that both sides have no incentive in ending war.
Although militarily Russian forces seem to be in a better position in consolidation of Donbas region by making deep forays into Donbas city of Severodonetsk, the US and the western powers have all plans to drag President Vladimir Putin into a quagmire by supplying hardware and military grants to Kyiv. The Ukraine war is already into its third month with the Russian Forces using scorched earth tactics to create a buffer in the eastern region of Ukraine from Donbas to Black Sea.
Even though Moscow has been severely sanctioned by the US and the west for its Ukraine adventure, its impact will take a long time to reflect in a country as humongous as Russia with all its abundant natural resources and resilient people. Figures show that the Russian Rouble has firmed up after sanctions and the economy is moving in a growth direction.