Wednesday

18th Oct 2017

EU to expand Russia blacklist

  • Ashton is to urge Lavrov to pull back Russian troops (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EU countries are to expand their Russia and Ukraine blacklists and to send a small team of security experts to Kiev.

The decision, by foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday (14 April), came after pro-Russian separatists seized local government buildings, erected barricades and beat up pro-Ukranian activists in nine cities in east and south Ukraine in recent days.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

US and EU diplomats had previously said the heavily-armed separatists are Russian forces in disguise.

But the EU's Luxembourg communique was less black and white, referring instead to "actions undertaken by armed individuals”, after Finland vetoed a reference to Russia’s responsibility.

Despite the cautious language, ministers said they would add names to their existing list of 33 Russian and Ukrainian officials deemed guilty of violating Ukraine's territorial integrity.

They tasked EU diplomats to agree the names in the coming days.

Polish FM Radek Sikroski said the move would cover "entities" – Russian firms – while Ireland's Eamon Gilmore said it would cover extra "individuals as well as entities".

The ministers agreed to add four names to another blacklist of 18 Ukrainian officials. But this move is designed to help Ukraine claw back stolen state funds rather than to hold back Russia.

Meanwhile, ministers gave partial support to a joint British-Polish-Swedish proposal to send an EU police-training mission to Ukraine.

Sikorski said the mission "got the green light" and "will go in June". But the Luxembourg communique referred only to sending a small team of EU diplomats to Kiev in the next few days to prepare for "a possible … mission, with a view to a decision on further EU action at its next meeting".

Ireland's Gilmore added the mission will only be deployed "if it becomes necessary".

Looking ahead to a high-level meeting in Geneva on Thursday, the ministers also tasked EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton with delivering a far-reaching set of demands to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Ashton is to urge Russia to: "repudiate" the actions of the Ukraine separatists; voice "strong support" for Ukraine's territorial integrity; "call back its troops" from the Ukrainian border; and "immediately withdraw the mandate" of the Russian senate for a broader Ukraine invasion.

The ministers noted the European Commission has almost completed work on what the EU calls "tier three" sanctions – measures designed to hurt the Russian energy, financial, and arms sectors.

French FM Laurent Fabius said EU leaders might call a summit next week to implement the measures if the Geneva talks fail.

But Britain's William Hague indicated the EU is still undecided on what would trigger the step. "The situation can develop in many ways, so it [the trigger] is not laid down in any more detailed way," he told press.

He added that it is "very hard to believe" that Russia will come round to the EU's demands in Geneva given its recent actions.

His scepticism was borne out by a phone call between US leader Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin also on Monday.

The White House said: "The President emphasised that all irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms, and he urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized."

But the Kremlin noted in its statement on the call that the new wave of violence is "the result of the Kiev authorities' unwillingness and inability to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population".

He met the same day in Moscow with Sergei Aksyonov – a former criminal who led the separatist movement in Crimea prior to its annexation by Russia – to formally appoint him as "acting governor" of the territory.

Opinion

EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

If European leaders speak and act now, there's a chance ethnic cleansing could end before the last Burmese Rohingya is killed, captured, or exiled.

News in Brief

  1. US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet
  2. Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure
  3. Icelandic journalists protest ban on reporting PM's finances
  4. UK to begin registering EU nationals by end of 2018
  5. EU countries want compensation from Israel in Palestine
  6. Spanish Court declares Catalan referendum law void
  7. EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret
  8. No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. Norway and Poland reach deal on €809 million aid scheme
  2. Member states eye agreement on posted workers
  3. EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks
  4. Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency
  5. Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?
  6. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  7. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  8. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry