Thursday

8th Dec 2016

EU extends Russia blacklist by six months

  • Fighting continues in east Ukraine, as EU debate heats up on Russia sanctions (Photo: Christopher Bobyn)

EU ambassadors on Wednesday (7 September) decided to extend the life of a blacklist that designates top Russian officials on grounds of “actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity”.

The list, which expires on 15 September, is to stay in place until 15 March next year, with EU capitals to ratify the decision by written procedure in the next few days.

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.

“It is expected that no change will be made to the list of persons and entities under restrictive measures”, an EU Council official said.

The list imposes a travel ban and asset freeze on 146 Russians and Ukrainians and an asset freeze on 37 entities.

Named individuals include Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s oligarch friends, top Kremlin aides, senior politicians, and Russian security chiefs.

The EU official said it was extended without any debate by all 28 ambassadors.

The move comes ahead of talks on future Russia relations by EU leaders at a summit in October.

The EU has also imposed biting economic sanctions on Russian banks, energy firms, and arms makers. These are due to expire in January unless renewed.

One EU diplomat said the UK’s decision to leave the EU has weakened the internal bloc of Russia hawks that is set to push for a renewal.

“The UK already has one foot out of the door. That leaves Poland, the Baltic states, Sweden and, to an extent, Denmark, without a major ally on Russia”, the contact said.

“The other Visegrad countries [the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia] are pursuing better relations with Russia, while in Germany, the SPD is trying to differentiate itself from Merkel in the run-up to elections, and that is likely to mean a more pro-Russian line”, he added.

The Russia-friendly, centre-left SPD party is a member of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.

Merkel has taken a firm line that Russia must fully comply with the Minsk ceasefire accord in Ukraine before the EU reciprocates, but French and Italian leaders have criticised the EU sanctions regime.

The accord says that "foreign" troops must leave Ukraine and Russia must hand back control of the border to Kiev.

The EU diplomat said October’s talks could see EU leaders “decouple” sanctions from Minsk compliance, opening the door to sanctions relief down the line.

Fighting in east Ukraine has intensified over the summer, with international monitors, the OSCE, reporting 62 explosions in the Donetsk region on Wednesday and 42 in the Luhansk region.

Russia denies that its soldiers are active in Ukraine.

But a new investigation by Bellingcat, a British NGO, which counted the number of medals awarded to Russian soldiers during the past two years of the Ukraine conflict, indicated that “more than 10,000” Russian servicemen took part in combat operations in east Ukraine.

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  3. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  5. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  6. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  7. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  8. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  9. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  10. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  11. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  12. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals