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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

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