Russia’s move against Ukraine makes 2022 euro zone growth more uncertain -Commission

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FILE PHOTO - Euro zone finance ministers meet to discuss help for COVID-stricken companies

BRUSSELS – Russia’s recognition of the independence of Ukraine’s two breakaway regions makes the European Commission’s already reduced euro zone growth forecast for 2022 even more uncertain, European Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday.

Speaking at an economic conference, Gentiloni said “uncertainty remains around us”, adding: “The violation of international law through Russian recognition of two separatist territories in Ukraine will strongly increase this uncertainty.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine on Monday, deepening Western fears of a new war in Europe. Moscow’s move will trigger EU sanctions against it and Russia is likely to respond with counter-sanctions.

On Feb. 10, the European Commission cut its growth forecast for the 19 countries sharing the euro to 4.0% this year from 4.3%, citing a new wave of COVID-19 infections, high energy prices and continued supply-side disruptions.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Catherine Evans)