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Von der Leyen: EU working ‘intensively’ on new Russia sanctions

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is working “intensively” on a plan to hit Vladimir Putin’s regime with a new package of sanctions as the bloc seeks to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

Von der Leyen made her comments during a statement to reporters in Brussels after the Kremlin announced it is cutting off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland.

“The sixth package of sanctions will come in due time. We’re working intensively on it,” von der Leyen said. “The move that Russia did today is basically a move where Russia hurts itself. The Kremlin is hurting the Russian economy because they are cutting off themselves from important revenues.

“Nonetheless, we are working hard not only to get rid of the coal, as we have done already, but also we are working on the topic of oil. And you have seen today the question of gas dependency on Russia. We have been working since month to reduce this dependency. It pays off now.”

Von der Leyen said Poland and Bulgaria are receiving gas supplies from their immediate EU neighbors, adding that the bloc will continue to build up storage capacity and work to secure alternative supplies from other parts of the world.

EU diplomats are meeting to discuss the Ukraine crisis, including the topic of the next Russia sanctions package, Wednesday.

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