News / Europe

EU Toughens Russia Sanctions Over Airliner Downing

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (R) talks with Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini (C), and Croatia's Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, during an EU foreign ministers council at the European Council building in Brussels, July 22, 2014.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (R) talks with Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini (C), and Croatia's Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, during an EU foreign ministers council at the European Council building in Brussels, July 22, 2014.
Lisa BryantMichael Bowman

The European Union moved Tuesday to toughen and widen sanctions against Russia amid anger over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane in rebel-held eastern Ukraine. 

The EU will next consider more penalties hitting Moscow's defense, financial and energy interests

The EU move was applauded by U.S. lawmakers who said on Tuesday that Russia must pay a price for events in Ukraine but that price can only be exacted with Europe’s full and vigorous cooperation.

At a press conference in Brussels, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton outlined the new steps against Russia agreed to by the 28-member bloc.
 
"We today decided to accelerate the preparation of targeted measures agreed at the summit last week. In particular, to put in place very quickly a list of entities and people, including from Russia, under the new enhanced criteria and to expand the restrictive measures to target individuals or companies who actively benefit from support of the Russian decision makers' responsible for the annexation of Crimea, of the destabilization of eastern Ukraine," she said.

The new measures reflect mounting international anger over last week's downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 that was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The West accuses pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the aircraft, killing all 298 people aboard.

Demands for justice
 
Ashton joined growing calls for a full and transparent investigation and for those responsible for the plane's downing to be brought to justice.
 
"We, in particular, call on Russia to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups to achieve access to the site," Ashton said.

"And we urge Russia to stop the flow of weapons, equipment and militants across the border so we can achieve rapid and tangible de-escalation," she said.
 
The United States and Europe have already imposed targeted economic sanctions against Russia for supporting the insurgency in Ukraine.

On Thursday, EU officials will present proposals for further sanctions against Moscow that might target financial services, arms exports and the energy sector.
 
For its part, Russia denies any involvement in the plane's downing. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will do everything possible to facilitate the investigation.
 
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans called the EU measures forceful and unanimous. Roughly two-thirds of the crash victims were from the Netherlands.
 
"This is a logical consequence of the decisions of the European Council and the lack of progress on the Russian side since then," he said.

EU consensus
 
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski also expressed satisfaction.
 
"I think we have a good result, one that should be satisfying to Holland, to the Dutch public, one that should make President Putin realize that this time we are for real, that this is serious, that we expect Russia to return the bodies, to collaborate with the investigation," he said.

"If need be, to release or punish the guilty. And sanctions are a means to it," Radoslaw said.
 
On Thursday, the EU is expected to publish a list of people and companies targeted by the sanctions, which are expected to include asset bans and travel freezes.

US lawmakers urge action

On the U.S. Senate floor, Republican Dan Coats said Russian President Putin is driven by “pathological insecurities” and “imperial ambitions” - and must be forced to halt intervention in Ukraine.

“I suggest we do whatever is necessary to bring Russia’s economy to its knees," Coats said. "We need to see that [Russian] stock market plummet. We need to see confidence and support for anything Russia makes or exports denied.”

But for further sanctions to be effective, the United States and its European allies must present a unified front, according to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

“Brussels has the ability to send an unequivocal message to Russia this week that there are consequences for their continued provocation in eastern Ukraine, which has now led to the death of hundreds of Europeans," Murphy said.

"Putin will blink if he sees there are real consequences for his economy. It is difficult for the United States to deliver consequences alone without Europe,” he added.

But many U.S. lawmakers question EU nations’ pain threshold when it comes to sanctions that could harm their own economies.

Republican Senator John McCain said so long as Europe depends on Russia for energy, EU sanctions will be weak.

“The Europeans are not going to do anything," he said." If anybody believes that [European sanctions will be firm], I have some beachfront property for them in Arizona,.”

Arizona, McCain’s home state, is landlocked.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 24, 2014 4:03 AM
It seems to me that the endless talking about "Russian Sanctions"...blah...blah ...blah is just becoming Western's TV late night show past time.
If US and its sister organisation EU are incapable of performing lethal operation to Putin in Moscow the way they did to Saddam Hussein in Baghdad years back, then I do suggest them to shut up, grow up, go home, take a leak and lick your wounds for a while. This is the only way to sustain your credibility of being member of "civilized world"!

by: Patrick from: Ca
July 23, 2014 12:56 AM
Yyaawwnn,,, way to go Europe

by: Not Again from: Canada
July 22, 2014 10:32 PM
The sit is still spiralling into a dead end. In addition to a list of extensive and sectoral sanctions, LIST/LIST, which need to be racheted in a very very incremental way; the need in my opinion is that the US/EU principals need to hold face to face meetings with Putin. There is a very small fractional potential posibility, that because of his soviet era upbringing, and the anti-West propaganda he was subjected for years, that he actually believes the soviet propaganda nonesense that is entrenched in his brain.
The Ukraine is no one's henchman, the Ukraine is for all intensive purposesis close to needing life support. If Putin believes that the Ukraine is the West's henchman, he needs to be set straight; such language comes out of his Soviet era upbringing, and does not reflect reality.
Face to face talking, may enable him to get out of ideas, that were not even correct during the cold war. Bottom line the West has not had nor never intended to conquer Russia and take it over, the Soviet propaganda engrained that idea in its citizens, and Putin appears to believe it.

by: Alex
July 22, 2014 12:25 PM
Putin realizes typical KGB tactics. Today Putin at a meeting of the Security Council in the Kremlin declared that NATO has got close to the Russian border, and, probably, wants to impose war on Russia. Regarding the situation there in Ukraine he said that it was anti-constitutional coup which led to unconstitutional government forces in Ukraine. He remarked that there could never be in Russia what is now happening in Ukraine, because there is a democratic society in Russia.

Additionally, Putin said that Russia will think for an adequate response to the sanctions. And yet one must admit that Putin is weak because of the mass theft, corruption and patronage in all sectors of Russian society, including the Russian army. For 15 years of Putin's having been in power from 1999 to 2014 and 15 years of formal support from the the US and the UE theoretically he could have captured half of Europe, but in reality he could not even be able to capture half of Ukraine.

The next week or even earlier pro-Russian fighters probably will be finished in eastern Ukraine and there will be long-waiting peace all over that territory. And what will happen next? Will it follow the next 10 years of Putin’s staying in power, or Putin will face the fate of Yanukovych, we do not know. Anyway, the world must decide how to do business with Putin.

by: Bill from: Pacifica, CA USA
July 22, 2014 11:28 AM
The inability of Leading EU powers to reach consensus only proves they are united only in currency. The downing of MH17 rests squarely on the shoulders of the EU. They should have put their collective foot down with the annexation of Crimea. If so this chain of events would have been long ago shorted.

by: VTA from: Vietnam
July 22, 2014 11:18 AM
EU, you have been stupid already in one money (Euro). Now you do it again in MH 17. I can not understand what EU is doing. Sanctions on Russia is only one way to prove that EU is still smart but not much. So much sad for you - EU.

by: Aviator
July 22, 2014 10:30 AM
It is absolutely shocking to read that France will supply a helicopter carrier and a second warship for Russia. How cheap human lives are today on "the altar of financial gain" Little wonder why Russia is able to evade responsibility for this dastardly deed. Had it been a French aircraft shot down, President Francois Hollande would have an entirely different stance.

by: Not Again from: Canada
July 22, 2014 9:44 AM
The EU has cried wolf too many times; their repetition of the same words, very much sounds like the noise a parrot makes; repetition of words that the parrot does not understand. Steinmeier, is the fellow that did not understand what was occurring during the take over of the Crimea... in front of the press conference he indicated that he did not understand the situation, he would find out from his Russian counterparts, what was occurring.....? A man in his position, that does not understand a gigantic geopolitical earthquake, like the severing of Crimea from the Ukraine....not a very healthy situation.

I do not think any one will take the EU seriously anymore, wrt the situation in the Ukraine, essentially we are now on the slippery slope of heading towards a very major confrontation, deterrence has failed, or more likely just go into autopilot, heading in the opposite direction..... and all the postmortem grandstanding, will not revive the patient. When parrots come across hyenas, parrots' only chance is to fly away and fast, and not stand and talk meaningless words.......

by: flypaper from: NY
July 22, 2014 9:29 AM
The EU just proved that they place MONEY above the lives of their own people, how cowardly, how disgusting, how european... France will continue to supply weapons to the Russian killers, England will continue to launder Russian mafia money in London, Germany will continue to sell its soul to russia for a few more Euro's, all this while the funerals of the 300 dead are being held.

Europe has shown its self to b more interested in the bottom line then justice. In the future I hope when Russia has Europe is backed into a corner by Russian aggression and begs the rest of the world for help the world remembers this day and walks away and watches Europe suffer like the poor 300 did.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
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 Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
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 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.

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