Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

Aleppo strikes prompt EU talk of new Russia sanctions

  • Blood on the ground after airstrikes hit market in Aleppo rebel enclave on Wednesday (12 October) (Photo: REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail)

EU diplomats are in talks on whether to expand sanctions on Russia and Syria over the bombardment of Aleppo, but there is unlikely to be a quick decision.

Ambassadors in the political and security committee are to meet in Brussels on Thursday (13 October) and Friday to discuss the bloc’s reaction to Russian airstrikes on an enclave of Western-backed rebels in the Syrian city, which inflicted hundreds of civilian casualties.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The talks come ahead of a foreign ministers meeting in Brussels next Monday that is set to condemn the bombing campaign.

They also come ahead of a strategic debate on EU-Russia relations at an EU summit later next week, which was requested by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

The EU has already imposed visa bans and asset freezes on more than 200 Syrian officials and 70 entities.

It has sanctioned some 150 Russians and Ukrainians over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and imposed economic sanctions on Russian banks, oil firms, and arms makers.

An EU source told EUobserver on Thursday that some states had proposed adding a handful of Russian names to the Syria blacklist.

But he said the EU is unlikely to take the step until the outcome of new Syria peace talks, due to start in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 15 October, becomes clear.

He also said the EU might wait to see the result of a meeting by French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian leaders on Ukraine, expected in Berlin on 19 October.

“It’s too early to say how it will develop, but some member states might be willing to put Russia into the context of all this [the EU’s reaction to events in Aleppo]”, he said.

He added that Syria was "very much helping us to maintain sanctions engagement” in terms of the EU’s Ukraine-related blacklists and economic measures.

The Reuters news agency reported on Thursday that Britain and France were leading the EU talks on Syria, with proposals to add 12 Russian names to the Syria list.

French president Francois Hollande snubbed Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier this week by downgrading a state visit to Paris to a “working meeting” on Syria, prompting Putin to cancel the trip.

UK foreign minister Boris Johnson told MPs that anti-war NGOs should picket the Russian embassy in London.

Senior German MEPs and MPs from chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party, such as Elmar Brok and Norbert Roettgen, have also called for additional measures against Russia.

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, told the Wall Street Journal, a US newspaper, on Wednesday: “I’m quite concerned and disappointed that Russia-EU relations are becoming hostage to yet another crisis - not only the Ukrainian crisis but also the Syrian one”.

“Any hostile act against Russia will not remain without an adequate reaction, the substance of which I don’t want to prejudge”, he said.

Putin also hit back at Western criticism.

“Any accusations against Russia for being allegedly responsible for the problem of refugees, are absolutely unjustified,” he told French broadcaster TFI 1 in an interview aired on Wednesday.

“I’m deeply convinced that it's our Western partners, and especially the United States, that are responsible for the situation in the region in general and Syria in particular.”

The US has also been implicated in civilian deaths from airstrikes in Syria and in other theatres, such as Afghanistan.

Josh Kirby, the state department spokesman, said on Wednesday that there was a difference between its actions and those of Russia.

“The difference is when we cause them [civilian deaths], it’s unintentional or there was a mistake involved. It’s not a deliberate attempt to put innocent civilians in harm’s way,” he said.

“What we’ve seen in and around Aleppo specifically with respect to the Syrian regime and Russian military aircraft is a wanton disregard for the safety and security of civilians and an indiscriminate approach to the bombing, which is absolutely not at all in concert with the way we conduct our military air operations.”

France and Russia fall out over Syria

Russian president Vladimir Putin has "postponed" a visit to Paris, as French president wanted to talk about Russian strikes on Aleppo.

Opinion

Coercive EU diplomacy can save Syrian lives

Only words backed by force, such as Western air strikes on Syrian regime targets, can stop the Aleppo slaughter, a Syrian opposition leader has said.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  2. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  4. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  5. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  6. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  8. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  9. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  10. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  11. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  12. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”

Latest News

  1. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission
  2. Spain's De Guindos to be ECB vice-president
  3. Conservative 'buccaneering Brexit' narrative unrealistic
  4. MPs demand Council become more transparent
  5. Eurogroup starts process to pick new ECB chiefs
  6. 'Fact of life': some EU funding in new tech will get lost
  7. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  8. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  2. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  3. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  6. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  8. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  9. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  10. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?
  11. European Jewish CongressEJC President Warns Europe as Holocaust Memory Fades
  12. European Free AlllianceNo Justice From the Spanish Supreme Court Ruling