EU sanctions: EU to discuss sanctions against Russia and Iran, increase of Ukrainian arms fund | world news

BRUSSELS: European Union (EU) foreign ministers will meet on Monday to try to agree on new sanctions against Russia and Iran and an additional €2 billion ($2.11 billion) for arms deliveries to Ukraine.
However, it is unclear whether Hungary will block some decisions, resorting to what diplomats have denounced as “blackmail diplomacy” over a dispute over EU funds blocked for Budapest.
“There is an agreement in principle, but there is also the big elephant in the room,” a senior EU diplomat told reporters, referring to Budapest’s use of its veto power. “It’s a type of blackmail diplomacy that we’d rather not see, but it is what it is.”
Foreign ministers are due to consider new sanctions against Iranian people and organizations for human rights abuses amid Tehran’s crackdown on protesters and the supply of drones to Russia.
“We are going to approve a very tough set of sanctions,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said ahead of the meeting. The EU “will take all possible measures to support young women and peaceful protesters”.
They will discuss a ninth package of Russia sanctions which is expected to place nearly 200 additional people and entities on the EU sanctions list, but Borrell stressed that there was still no agreement at this point. He was hoping that might happen later on Monday or Tuesday.
Ministers will also aim to top up €2bn to a fund that member states have used to finance arms purchases for Kiev, but which has been largely depleted during almost 10 months of war in Ukraine.
Ministers are expected to agree on a civilian mission to Moldova, which could ask for help with cyber defence, fighting corruption or strengthening the rule of law.
Foreign ministers are also expected to pave the way for a three-year military mission to Nigerwith 50 to 100 soldiers at the beginning, then up to 300 to help the country improve its logistics and infrastructure.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Niger is seen as threatened by a possible spillover of violence from neighboring Mali, where Islamist militants are gaining ground after the withdrawal of French and European forces.
Ahead of their meeting, ministers will meet with their Eastern Partnership counterparts – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – nations that the EU has sought to stabilize in the face of war in Russia in Ukraine.


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