Monday

25th Jun 2018

EU countries delay Russia sanctions despite ultimatum

  • German leader Angela Merkel last Friday said Russia must act 'in the coming hours' (Photo: consilium.europa.au)

EU countries have opted not to impose extra sanctions on Russia despite the expiry of an ultimatum, citing “positive developments”.

Their ambassadors, meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (1 July), put off the decision until next week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

“We asked for the release of hostages and some hostages were released. There are also new talks between the Ukrainian and Russian leaders, together with France and Germany, so we’d like to see what the next steps are along these lines”, one EU diplomat said, referring to the release of four monitors from the OSCE, a multilateral club.

A second EU diplomat noted: “It’s not clear to us whether the situation is acceptable or unacceptable. It’s too fluid to make a decision at this point”.

A third EU source said: “There is also some positive movement in relation to checkpoints [on the Russia-Ukraine border]. Not everything that’s happening on the ground is in the media”.

EU leaders last Friday said that unless pro-Russia rebels free “all” hostages, hand back three border posts, let in foreign monitors, and start peace talks “by Monday 30 June” they will take “further steps” against Russia.

The rebels still hold over 100 hostages, the checkpoints, and there are no monitors in the conflict zone.

With Ukraine on Monday also ending a ceasefire in which rebels continued to attack its troops, Russia itself said the telephone diplomacy had “failed”.

“We failed – when I say ‘we’, I mean my colleagues in Europe and myself – we failed to convince him [Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko] that the road to a secure, stable, and inviolable peace cannot lie through war”, he said in a speech in Moscow on Tuesday.

Last week's ultimatum raised public expectation in Ukraine the EU would take swift action.

“I’ve been getting calls all day [from Ukrainian media] asking me: ‘So when are the sanctions coming?’ and I’m not sure what to tell them”, a spokesman for one EU mission in Ukraine said.

The EU’s signature of a free trade accord with Ukraine last Friday has also raised expectation in its foreign ministry.

“From the moment we signed the agreement, the EU took part of the responsibility for what’s going on in Ukraine,” its ambassador to the EU, Kostyantin Yeliseyev, told EUobserver.

"It's the first time the EU issued such clear conditions [on sanctions], so, pacta sunt servanda - if even one of them is not met, there should be results".

With Italy, an opponent of Russia sanctions, taking over the EU rotating presidency on Tuesday, the ambassador added: “The EU must show it does not just formulate conditions, but that it is capable of implementing them as well. We count very much on the Italian presidency to show leadership in this area, regardless of how strong Italy’s business ties with Russia may be”.

Soros to EU: Help 'new Ukraine' against 'new Russia'

US philanthropist George Soros has said the EU needs to support "new Ukraine" in its struggle against Putin's "new Russia". His words came as Ukraine's President ended a unilateral ceasefire with separatists in the east of the country.

EU diplomats unsure of next step on Ukraine

Some EU countries expect a snap foreign ministers' meeting on Wednesday to add names to the Russia blacklist, but others expect no new decision until mid-July despite an ultimatum.

Investigation

Several EU states impose arms ban on Russia

Most of the EU’s top arms exporters have imposed a quiet ban on sales to Russia, but Ukraine’s military embargo could have a bigger impact on the crisis.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Orban allies divided in vote on Hungary sanctions probe
  2. Rutte - from 'Mr No' to 'next Tusk'?
  3. UN offers to help EU's migrant 'disembarkation' plan
  4. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  5. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  6. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  7. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  8. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us