Saturday

27th May 2017

Obama, EU leaders agree on Russia sanctions

  • If EU ambassadors don't agree Tuesday or Wednesday, an EU summit is not excluded (Photo: European Council)

The leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the US held a conference call on Monday (28 July) and agreed to impose economic sanctions on Russia as it continues to support the war in eastern Ukraine.

In a press statement after the call, the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the five leaders "agreed that Russia has failed to take the steps necessary to de-escalate the crisis, such as ceasing support for the separatists; stopping the flow of weapons across the border; and using its influence to ensure the release of hostages."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Even after the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight, in which 298 people died, "Russia continues to transfer weapons across the border and to provide practical support to the separatists."

"Leaders agreed that the international community should therefore impose further costs on Russia and specifically that ambassadors from across the EU should agree a strong package of sectoral sanctions as swiftly as possible," Downing Street said.

EU ambassadors on Monday agreed to extend the sanctions list to the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin and were set to meet again on Tuesday to agree on economic sanctions.

Any new EU sanctions will come into force within 24 hours of a deal being reached between the ambassadors.

With the more reluctant German and Italian leaders onboard, it is unlikely that ambassadors will fail to reach an agreement Tuesday or Wednesday at latest.

Otherwise, a special EU summit of all leaders would have to be called again - a prospect that nobody wants as it would show a divided Europe.

According to an EU source, one of the sticking points for the Tuesday discussion remains whether the arms ban should also apply to old contracts retroactively or just new defence contracts.

Eastern member states would like to keep the existing contracts because of their Soviet-era airplanes and military equipments which need spare parts from Russia. France is also reluctant to scrap a €1.2 billion sale of two Mistral warships.

Another issue is the economic impact of sanctions if Russia retaliates with import bans on European products, as well as clear language on what could trigger the end of the sanctions regime.

A spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said the German government is demanding a "substantial package of EU measures against Russia", including a weapons embargo.

Apart from weapons exports, the EU is likely to impose trade bans on sensitive technology, including in shale oil and arctic exploration - however no gas exploration technology. So-called dual use items, which can serve both civilian and military purposes, are also to be included on the sanctions list.

As for Russian banks and firms, they will be slapped with restrictions to EU and US capital markets, which will mean they will have trouble raising money abroad and see their stock value decrease.

The sanctions should "put pressure on Russia not to further destabilise Ukraine and instead to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis," the German chancellery said in a statement.

EU to hit Russia with economic sanctions next week

The EU is set to impose economic sanctions on Russia next week. Meanwhile, southern member states want the European Commission to consider any blowback effect when it assesses national deficits.

US joins EU on Russia economic sanctions

The US on Tuesday announced a widening of its own Russia sanctions to match the EU's economic sanctions adopted just a few hours previously.

Nato head defends 'blunt' US leader

Nato chief Stoltenberg defended Trump’s behaviour at Thursday’s summit. The prime minister of Montenegro also apologised for him.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms