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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora