Diplomats participating in the negotiations said that apart from Hungary, whose president Viktor Orban, is an admirer of Mr. Putin, and which only reluctantly agreed to the first set of sanctions, other member states are mostly amenable to more severe penalties. But many have been asking for exceptions to protect commercial interests.
European Union leaders are set to meet in Brussels Thursday for an emergency meeting to grapple with these differences, and diplomats said no one was prepared to appear hesitant in the face of an invasion, so a compromise would have to be reached urgently.
A few European countries are bracing for impact in their banking sectors. Italy has been arguing for narrower sanctions that omit major crackdowns on Russian banks, as has Austria, whose Raiffeisen Bank International maintains hundreds of branches in Russia, diplomats said.
And there were more niche concerns, too. Italy would like to see luxury goods excluded from the new sanctions package so as to maintain exports of the Russian elite’s favorite fashion items. Belgium, home of Antwerp, Europe’s largest diamond center, has been pushing for gemstones to be excluded.
These types of indulgences, favorites among Russian elites and important for the European countries that export them, were highlighted in a rare caustic tweet Tuesday by Josep Borrell Fontelles, the bloc’s foreign policy chief boasting about the E.U.’s measures.
“No more: Shopping in Milano Partying in Saint Tropez Diamonds in Antwerp,” he wrote.
The tweet was later deleted.
Reporting was contributed by Steven Erlanger from Munich, Oleg Matsnev from Moscow, Stephen Castle and Patricia Cohen from London, Jack Ewing from Shelburne, Vt., and Gaia Pianigiani from Rome.