Saturday

27th Nov 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“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.

EU to uphold ban on Putin's 'cronies'

EU states are expected, next week, to extend for six months their blacklist of Russians and Ukrainians deemed responsible for the war in Ukraine.

West shows $1bn of faith in Ukraine

The IMF has shown faith in Ukraine’s reform efforts by disbursing more money. A new ceasefire deal has also given fresh hope of peace.

News in Brief

  1. Covid variant: EU to block travel from southern Africa
  2. France and UK seek EU help on Channel migrants
  3. New Swedish PM who resigned after 7 hours gets second chance
  4. Belgium to decide on Friday on Covid measures
  5. UK rings alarm on new Covid strain in South Africa
  6. Turkish police use tear gas at women's rights march
  7. Poland calls for more Nato troops
  8. Ex-Navalny aide leaves Russia

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Belgium goes into three-week 'lockdown light'
  2. MEPs list crimes of 'Kremlin proxy' mercenaries
  3. EU to open up 'black box' of political ads
  4. Can the ECB solve climate change and inflation on its own?
  5. EU set to limit vaccine certificate to nine months
  6. Surprise coalition in Romania without former Renew's Ciolos
  7. This 'Black Friday' is a turning point in corporate accountability
  8. West struggling to show strength on Ukraine

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us