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Tuesday's papers: Russia sanctions, expensive groceries, and Turkey's aims

EU leaders have agreed on a compromise deal that will see more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports prohibited from entering the bloc.

From left to right: Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and European Council President Charles Michel, at Monday's meeting in Brussels. Image: EPA-EFE/All Over Press

Several outlets report on the outcome of an EU leaders meeting in Brussels. A key objective of the meeting was to reach a consensus on new sanctions against Russia.

The meeting, attended by Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), saw EU leaders agree on an oil import ban from Russia, Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) writes.

The ban will cover two-thirds of all Russian oil imports to the E.U, European Council President Charles Michel tweeted on Tuesday.

A decision was also made to cut off the Russian bank Sberbank from the SWIFT payments system.

A 9 billion euro aid package for Ukraine was also approved at the meeting.

Marin told HS that the aid package is primarily intended to cover the country’s short-term financing needs, but EU leaders will continue the discussion later on how to support Ukraine’s reconstruction in the longer term.

Price hikes cause trouble

The surge in food prices is particularly affecting low-income households and families with children, Taloussanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) writes.

Heidi Jaari, the executive director of Helsinki-based charity Apuna Ry, said people are forced to spend more on food as prices soar, which means cutting costs elsewhere.

"Each day, we receive a staggering number of messages asking for help," Jaari said.

She said the situation will only get worse, as during the summer holidays low-income families with children will no longer be able to rely on free school meals.

The Pellervo Economic Research Institute PTT estimates that food prices in Finland will rise by about 11 percent in 2022. As prices rose modestly in the early part of the year, the biggest increases are expected in the summer and early autumn.

Turkey's aims

Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) carries an interview with Turkish political expert Toni Alaranta of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Alaranta discussed the possible motives behind Turkish opposition to Finland and Sweden joining Nato.

Alaranta told the paper that while he believes Finland and Sweden will accept Turkey's demands to lift their arms exports ban to the country, this is only a minimum target that Turkey has set for the talks.

He said the 2019 ban was largely a symbolic gesture intended to demonstrate opposition to the war in Syria, adding that the arms export amounts from the two Nordic countries to Turkey are marginal.

At the end of a state visit to Azerbaijan on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters that Ankara's talks with the Finnish and Swedish delegations did not meet his expectations, adding that he did not believe the countries to be honest or sincere. He has repeatedly accused Finland and Sweden of supporting terrorism.

Alaranta maintains that Turkey's ultimate aim is to convince the United States to cease supporting the YPG, with which the U.S army has battled Isis.

The YPG is a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey has designated as a terrorist organization.

Finland and Sweden have little chance of influencing the Turkish position, according to Alaranta.

However, US President Joe Biden could contact Erdogan or, if necessary, impose sanctions, Alaranta said, although added that even that might not be sufficient to convince Turkey to change its stance.