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

Russian Help on Iran Less Promising on Syria, Ukraine

US-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

US-Ethiopia Relationship Strong, But Complicated

While Ethiopia serves as a valuable security ally and a bulwark against terrorism - the U.S., is a major aid donor and economic stimulator More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backersi
X
Michael Bowman
July 26, 2015 8:44 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Underground Streetcar Station In Washington, DC, to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Rise in HIV Infections Worries Ugandan Officials

Uganda had the third-highest number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year, reversing its reputation for successfully tackling the epidemic in the 1990s. Although the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS is still half of what it was in the 1980s, the increase in new infections is worrying to health workers. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs