Germany and Italy have ‘disgraced themselves’ over Russia sanctions, Donald Tusk says

A former head of the European Council says Germany and Italy have “disgraced themselves” after blocking tough sanctions against Russia.

The EU hailed a 2am agreement on a “massive” package of measures in punishment for the Ukraine invasion, including a freeze on assets and a block on Russian banks’ access to European financial markets.

But there is an exemption for Moscow’s main source of revenue – energy exports – which means its banks will still enjoy lucrative revenues from gas and oil sales.

And Germany, France and Italy opposed a UK request to shut Russia out of the SWIFT international payments system – despite Ukraine saying the West would have “blood on its hands” if it refused.

The German finance minister, Christian Lindner, admitted Berlin refused to go further because of “a high risk that Germany will no longer be supplied with gas or raw materials”.

Donald Tusk, the European Commission president during the Brexit negotiations, hit out at EU countries for their “pretend” sanctions.

“In this war everything is real: Putin’s madness and cruelty, Ukrainian victims, bombs falling on Kyiv. Only your sanctions are pretended,” he tweeted.

“Those EU governments, which blocked tough decisions (i.e. Germany, Hungary, Italy) have disgraced themselves.”

The Ukrainian president has pleaded for tougher sanctions, as Kyiv was struck by air strikes with an expectation that Russian tanks will roll in later on Friday.

After speaking with Boris…

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