Even as the rouble continues its inexorable decline, hand in hand with global oil prices, EU leaders are refusing to budge over sanctions on Russia.
At a summit meeting in Brussels all the talk was of “stay[ing] the course” and taking “further steps if necessary,” not relaxing the sanctions swaddling the Russian economy.
Chief among the EU policy makers continues to be German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who believes that not enough progress has been made on the requirements set out at the Minsk Agreement.
The EU has also set out a new measure, perhaps one that many would have expected to have been rolled out sooner: a ban on companies investing in Crimea.
The big date is March next year, when the first of the economic sanctions is pencilled in to be reviewed. Whether or not the pain is eased will depend on Russia’s acquiescence, which probably rests on how the rouble and oil's performance tighten the thumbscrews on Vladimir Putin.