European Union member states failed to agree on a ninth package of Russia sanctions in talks late on Wednesday, diplomats said as EU leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday for their last summit of the year.
Countries moved closer to a deal in Wednesday’s negotiations but Poland and some other countries still have objections, one EU diplomat told Reuters, adding a new draft was expected to be circulated on Thursday evening.
Fresh sanctions on Moscow have been held up by disagreement over whether the EU should make it easier for Russian fertiliser exports to pass through European ports, even in the case when the fertiliser companies are owned by blacklisted oligarchs.
Some say EU restrictions pose a food security threat to developing countries, while others argue that relaxing them would allow Russian oligarchs who own fertiliser businesses to dodge EU sanctions against them.
One EU diplomat said Poland and the Baltic states are telling other countries that they are deluding themselves if they think a relaxation on Russian fertilisers is not going to be abused as a loophole for oligarchs.
Some member states want the World Food Programme involved on authorisation for exports of fertilisers to countries that need it.