France economy

France sends police to kyiv to investigate war crimes

European Union foreign ministers on Monday discussed the bloc’s efforts to pressure the Russian economy with sanctions, including the possibility of new energy sanctions, but no decision was made.

“Nothing is off the table, including oil and gas sanctions,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after the meeting in Luxembourg. “But today no decision has been made.”

The EU last Friday approved a fifth sanctions package against Russia, which included the first significant ban on imports of Russian energy, coal. However, the bloc remains deeply divided on whether to move forward with new energy import bans, starting with oil.

A senior EU official briefed on Monday’s talks said there had been little detailed discussion of options on Monday and no progress in bridging the rift within the bloc. A group of countries, led by Germany, opposes a rapid cut in oil imports. Others, led by Poland, are urging the bloc to stop buying Russian energy.

Mr Borrell noted the “asymmetrical shock” that further energy sanctions would have on some countries in the bloc that are heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas. “It must be managed by combining unity and solidarity,” he said.

EU officials say it could still be several weeks before the European Commission presents a proposal on a new round of sanctions, although the timing ultimately depends on events in Ukraine.

Foreign ministers met with International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan in Luxembourg on Monday morning to discuss efforts to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Several member states, including Sweden’s foreign minister, said on Monday they were ready to help fund the work of the ICC. In addition, Mr Borrell said the EU Assistance Mission to Ukraine was helping authorities gather evidence of war crimes. The EU reopened its mission in Kyiv last weekend.

A French special police team specializing in forensic medicine has already arrived in Ukraine to help investigate war crimes.