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Austria continues to block sanctions against Russia

Austria continues to block sanctions against Russia Photo: Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer (Getty Images)

Austria continues to block sanctions against Russia following the EU summit held on December 14 and 15, according to EU Observer.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, responding to press inquiries about Russian sanctions, stated that he "welcomes" the EU summit's communiqué.

However, the warm words created a false impression because, on Friday morning, Nehammer vetoed sanctions that had not yet been legally adopted.

"They imposed a study reserve, which could be lifted on Monday or early next week. EU [summit] conclusions are political statements, not legally binding decisions," a source told the publication.

"A reserve for examination" is when a country's leadership asks for additional time to study the legal fine print before signing EU decisions. But it also creates confusion because Vienna isn't actually studying anything.

Instead, the Austrian government is negotiating with Ukraine this weekend in a last-ditch effort to persuade Kyiv to remove the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank from the list of sponsors of the war.

"It makes me sad to see Ukrainian lives put on one side of the scale and the commercial interests of an Austrian bank in Russia on the other side," said one of the Ukrainian interlocutors of the publication.

12th package of sanctions against Russia

Earlier, Radio Free Europe correspondent Rikard Jozwiak reported that EU ambassadors failed to agree on a new package of sanctions against Russia, but this time not because of Hungary.

Austria was obstructing this time, demanding that Ukraine remove the Raiffeisen Bank International banking group from the list of international sponsors of the war.

The new package of sanctions against Russia is more focused on measures to combat the circumvention of restrictions and includes a ban on the supply of Russian diamonds.