Friday

26th May 2017

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.

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.

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