Tuesday

19th Feb 2019

EU to extend Russia blacklists

  • Pro-Russian militia in Simferopol in March 2014

The EU is Wednesday (2 September) expected to extend sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals and firms by six months.

Some 150 people and 37 firms will continue to have their assets frozen and be under a travel ban until March 2016, when sanctions will be reviewed again.

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The measures, which the EU imposed in several stages starting April 2014, target individuals and firms associated with the Russian authorities and the pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine, who contributed to the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the insurgency in east Ukraine.

The sanctions go along with measures against Russia's banking, arms, and energy sector, which were rolled over in June, until the end of January.

Among the people on the EU blacklists are Igor Sechin and Vladislav Surkov, advisers to president Vladimir Putin, as well as deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin and Russian MPs.

The lists also include Crimea's PM Sergei Aksionov and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The extension of the blacklists comes as the situation in Ukraine remains tense after heavy fighting between Russia-controlled forces and the Ukrainian army in the Donbas region in August.

Meeting

Last week, after a meeting with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and France's Francois Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel said the Minsk agreement signed with Russia in February "hasn't been fully implemented and that's meant that there have been more and more victims".

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who met Poroshenko three days later, said both sides in Ukraine should implement the Minsk agreement.

But he "address[ed] this especially to Russia”.

On Tuesday, Russia's foreign affairs minister Sergei Lavrov said his country was prepared for the "twists" of the West.

"We are paying attention to sanctions only from the stance that we, inside our country, would be ready for all such twists of our Western partners, to be independent from them in the spheres, which are vitally important for our country, for our citizens," he told students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Merkel, Hollande, and Putin held a phone call on Saturday and agreed that a meeting "in the coming weeks" would be "useful".

Opinion

EU needs to step up its game in Ukraine

The EU should not expect Russia to change its posture in the foreseeable future, because confrontational EU and US relations suit the Kremlin.

Juncker promises Ukraine visa-free travel

Commission president Juncker has said he’ll back EU visa-free travel for Ukrainians by the end of the year, despite the political climate on migration.

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