Friday

26th Apr 2019

Poroshenko: EU likely to hold off on Russia sanctions

  • Poroshenko (l) is to address all 28 EU leaders at a summit later in the day (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EU leaders are likely to hold off on extra Russia sanctions until at least next week, Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, has indicated.

The Ukrainian leader spoke on Saturday (30 August) in Brussels after sounding out EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso ahead of an EU summit later in the day.

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.

... or join as a group

  • “Let’s not try to spark a new flame [of conflict] in eastern Europe”, Poroshenko noted. (Photo: president.gov.ua)

Poroshenko noted that EU leaders are likely to agree further sanctions, but to wait on implementation to see how Russia reacts to his new “peace plan” next week.

“I have no doubts that today, after our discussion, the Council of the European Union will adopt a decision to give a task to the European Commission to prepare a specific decision on the [new] sanctions. If they are going to implement [them] or not, it depends on how fast we will be able to demonstrate progress in de-escalating the situation”, he said.

“We are waiting in the very next days, starting from Monday, to demonstrate real progress”.

For his part, Barroso noted that: “We [the commission] have already prepared some options [on new sanctions]”.

“The EU Council has stated before that if there is a further escalation of the conflict in Ukraine … there will be some more measures, and so I expect the leaders of the EU to be ready to take some more measures”.

Poroshenko’s previous peace plan demanded that pro-Russia separatists lay down their arms in return for talks on more autonomy.

But the Russian foreign ministry in a statement on Friday ruled out the move, saying: “When Kiev says that negotiations will only begin after the capitulation of those it calls ‘separatists,’ the self-defence forces are left with no choice but to keep fighting”.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin also gave little hope of a peaceful solution.

He told press on Friday at a youth camp at Lake Seliger, near Moscow, the actions of Ukrainian troops “remind me of the events of the Second World War, when German fascist ... occupiers surrounded our cities in east Ukraine”.

He added: "Russia's partners ... should understand it's best not to mess with us”.

"Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers”.

Putin’s EU ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov, on Friday denied that Russian troops have invaded Ukraine. He called the allegations an “aggressive misinformation campaign” by Kiev and by “third countries [the US]” to harm EU-Russia ties.

EU takes clear stand

The 28 EU countries and top EU officials see the conflict as a Russian war of aggression, however.

The bloc's foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, after chairing a meeting of foreign affairs ministers in Milan on Saturday, said “all ministers expressed concern” about “the recent aggression against Ukraine by regular Russian forces”.

She also urged Russia to “withdraw its forces from Ukraine”.

Barroso, standing next to Poroshenko in Brussels, said: “The use of Russian regular forces is not acceptable”. He noted that he called Putin on Friday to urge him “to change course … this is simply not the way that responsible, proud nations behave in the 21st century”.

Poroshenko said that from 27 August “thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine”.

Asked if he will seek military help from EU or Nato states, he said: "Ukraine is ready to protect herself. We do not count on military personnel from other countries to fight back-to-back with our military".

“Let’s not try to spark a new flame [of conflict] in eastern Europe”, he noted.

“I am proud that we have survived a generation without war and I hate the idea that we could return to such a situation”.

Russia relaxes EU food ban, counts costs

Russia has said its ban on EU food imports will cost it “hundreds of billions of rubles”, while taking several items off the blacklist.

Opinion

Why America is recovering, but Europe is not - Part II

It is the differences in the way the United States and Europe tackled the global financial crisis that explains why the US economy is recovering, whereas the eurozone is amid a lost decade.

News in Brief

  1. Talks to merge Germany's two largest banks collapse
  2. EU and Japan back Iran nuclear deal despite US
  3. China addresses EU concerns on belt and road plan
  4. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  5. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  6. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  7. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  8. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave

Opinion

Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all

The foreign affairs minister of Haiti calls for the replacement EU-Africa, Caribbean, Pacific 'Cotonou' agreement of 2000 to be updated to take account climate change, infrastructure and tourism to help the country transition away from aid-dependence.

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Spanish vote and EU court's Airbnb ruling in focus This WEEK
  2. Spain undecided and divided ahead of Sunday's election
  3. Migration and climate are EU's top priorities, Macron says
  4. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  5. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  6. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  7. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  8. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us