News / Europe

EU Approves Framework, Wording for Russia Sanctions

A member of a delegation takes a photo with his cellphone of the Ukrainian and EU flags after an EU summit in Brussels, March 6, 2014.
A member of a delegation takes a photo with his cellphone of the Ukrainian and EU flags after an EU summit in Brussels, March 6, 2014.
Reuters
EU member states have agreed the wording of sanctions on Russia, including travel restrictions and asset freezes against those responsible for violating the sovereignty of Ukraine, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
 
The seven-page document describes in detail the restrictive measures to be taken against Moscow if it does not reverse course in Crimea and begin talks with international mediators on efforts to resolve the crisis over Ukraine.
 
If approved by EU foreign ministers at a meeting on Monday, they would be the first sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia since the end of the Cold War, marking a severe deterioration in East-West relations.
 
“Member states shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into, or transit through, their territories of the natural persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” reads Article 1 of the document.
 
The second article covers assets held in the European Union and states that “all funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled” by those responsible for actions which have undermined Ukraine's integrity “shall be frozen”.
 
The document was approved by what is known as a silence procedure after no EU member states raised objections to the wording by 1100 GMT on Wednesday, officials said.
 
EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Monday and are expected to formally sign off on the restrictions, unless there is a dramatic change of course by Russia. That seems unlikely, with no indication of any 'de-escalation' in Crimea.
 
A referendum in Crimea on Sunday is expected to see the region vote in favor of secession from Ukraine to join Russia, adding weight to calls for an international response.
 
Names still needed
 
While the EU has agreed the wording for its sanctions, it is still working on the names of those to be targeted.
 
Discussions took place in London on Tuesday, when officials from Britain, the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and elsewhere met to discuss the issue.
 
“My understanding is that there was detailed discussion of names at the meeting,” an EU official said. “No definitive list has been drawn up, but it will be ready by Monday.”
 
European officials have indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, will not be on the list, so that channels of communication can be kept open and further escalation is possible at a later date.
 
Instead the list - an annex to the sanctions document seen by Reuters - is expected to focus on targets close to Putin in the security services and military establishment as well as on prominent members of the Russian parliament.
 
“The annex shall also contain, where available, the information necessary to identify the natural or legal persons, entities or bodies concerned,” reads the sanctions framework.
 
“With regard to legal persons and entities, such information may include names, place and date of registration, registration number and place of business.”
 
The EU and United States are coordinating on imposing the restrictions and have encouraged other countries, including Canada, Japan, Turkey and Switzerland, to take similar measures to maximize the impact.
 
If Russia does not respond to the pressure, the EU has said it is prepared to take further steps, probably involving an arms embargo and other trade-related measures. It could also apply sanctions on Putin himself.
 
The crisis began after Russia moved troops into Crimea in late February and effectively seized the peninsula after the popular overthrow of former president Viktor Yanukovich, an ally of Moscow who is now in exile in Russia.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More