EU pulls back support for sanctions against Russia over Aleppo bombing

New York [USA], Oct. 21 : Efforts by the Britain, France and Germany to threaten Russia with sanctions over its Syrian bombing campaign lacked unanimous support of leaders at Brussels Summit after the European Union pulled back.

UK-backed plan to impose further sanctions on Russia ran into opposition from Italy, reports the CNN. At a summit of the EU leaders on Thursday, despite vocal support from British Prime Minister Theresa May and her French counterpart, Franois Hollande, the plan to issue sanctions against Russia if "current atrocities" in Aleppo continue, failed to win the necessary unanimity to pass.

The EU's three biggest countries had wanted to warn Russia that individuals and organisations linked to the bombing of Aleppo could face asset freezes and travel bans if the violence continues.

According to sources, May even told her counterparts over dinner that Russia posed a challenge to Europe's democratic values and institutions.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said "it was difficult to imagine" as this would mean further sanctions against Russia.

The tense debate ranged widely over tensions between the EU and Russia. Leaders discussed airspace violations, disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks and "interference" in the political processes of the EU, said Donald Tusk, the European council president.

"It is clear that Russia's strategy is to weaken the EU. Increasing tensions with Russia is not our aim. We are simply reacting to steps taken by Russia," said Renzi. Earlier in the week, EU foreign ministers said Russia could be guilty of possible war crimes in Aleppo and had agreed to widen sanctions against Syrians implicated in the bombing.

The EU imposed economic sanctions against Russia in July 2014 in response to Moscow's arming of rebels in eastern Ukraine and failure to cooperate in the investigation over the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which killed 298 people.

Source: ANI