'A meaningless penalty!' Polish MEP shames EU over 'joke' sanctions on Russian aggression

Polish MEP Witold Waszczykowski argued the EU had made a meaningless gesture with these sanctions. Following the detainment of activist Alexei Navalny, the EU agreed to impose sanctions on Russian officials. These sanctions would impose travel bans and asset freezes for at least four people.

Mr Waszczykowski told Euronews that this penalty did not actually showcase the EU standing up to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Euronews reporter Bryan Carter said: “There were mixed feelings in Brussels after the EU’s top diplomats imposed new individual sanctions on close allies of Vladimir Putin in the wake of Alexei Navalny’s prison sentence.

“EU member states are deeply divided when it comes to diplomatic relations with Russia.”

Mr Waszcyzykowski insisted that the sanctions were meaningless and the gesture failed to even have any symbolic meaning.

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He said: “Looking at this from the perspective of central Europe it looks like a joke.

“This is not even a symbolic sanction, it is just a few people who were asked not to travel to the European Union.

“Most of these people will never be allowed to travel to the European Union because they are either party members or security service members.

“This is a very meaningless penalty imposed on Russia.”

Ms Loiseau did admit more should be done to oppose Russia but claimed the sanctions were a step forward.

She said: “Vladimir Putin is a chess player and he assesses the situation.

“He tries to divide member states of the European Union but when he feels we are united usually he restrains himself.

“I think it is a first step but I definitely think we should think about going further.”

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