Sunday

25th Sep 2022

EU threatens Russia over Syria 'atrocities'

  • Young man riding a bicycle in Syria-bombed Aleppo neighbourhood on Wednesday (Photo: REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail)

EU leaders will threaten to blacklist more Russians if “atrocities” in Syria continue, according to a draft of EU Council summit conclusions.

“The European Council strongly condemns the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo,” says the text, seen by EUobserver.

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

“The EU is considering all options, including further restrictive measures targeting individuals and entities supporting the regime, should the current atrocities continue.”

It calls for “immediate cessation of hostilities” and “unhindered humanitarian access”.

It also says that people deemed guilty of war crimes or “breaches of international humanitarian law” must be “held accountable”.

The threat to blacklist more Russians comes after French and German leaders, at a meeting in Berlin on Wednesday, failed to persuade Russian president Vladimir Putin to stop air strikes against civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The new text was circulated on Thursday night in parallel with the Berlin meeting after the UK and Germany proposed including the sanctions threat, an EU diplomat said.

Another diplomat said EU leaders had not planned to mention new Russia sanctions before the outcome of the Berlin meeting.

The EU has already blacklisted some 150 Russians and imposed economic sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.

One of those Russians, Kremlin aide Vladimir Surkov, was by Putin's side in Berlin because EU sanctions allow pariahs to attend multilateral meetings.

The EU has also blacklisted some 200 Syrians, including President Bashar al-Assad.

EU leaders will hold informal talks on broader Russia relations at a dinner on Thursday.

A senior EU diplomat said Syria “will be discussed separately from the Russia debate, because the situation is so serious that it needs to be mentioned”.

Another senior diplomat said: “The situation… requires a strong political expression by the EU Council”.

In a sign of the mood in Brussels, three leading European Parliament groups - the centre-right EPP, the Liberals, and the Greens - also said on Wednesday that EU "enforcement tools" on Russia should be "activated" if the Aleppo air strikes do not stop.

EU shames Russia on Aleppo 'massacre'

The EU has named Russia as being partly responsible for a “massacre” of “historic” proportions in Syria, but ruled out extra sanctions or military force.

Aleppo envoy left gloomy by EU summit

A plea for EU help by an official from Aleppo, the Syrian city under attack by Syria and Russia, failed to prompt action on Thursday.

Opinion

Europe can stop Syria's suffering

A survivor of one of Syria's death camps says Europe can do more to end the "industrial scale" suffering being inflicted by Assad's regime.

Opinion

How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes

A Special Tribunal on Russian war crimes in Ukraine must be convened, because no permanent or existing international judicial institution is endowed with jurisdiction over Russian high-ranking officials, writes the head of the Ukraine delegation to the Council of Europe.

Opinion

Losing on the Ukrainian battlefield will not unseat Putin

Notwithstanding the remarkable Ukrainian advances, a Russian defeat would not necessarily translate into regime change in Moscow. It is likely Putin will try to spin his military setbacks as evidence of the existential threat facing Russia.

News in Brief

  1. More Russians now crossing Finnish land border
  2. Report: EU to propose €584bn energy grid upgrade plan
  3. Morocco snubs Left MEPs probing asylum-seeker deaths
  4. EU urges calm after Putin's nuclear threat
  5. Council of Europe rejects Ukraine 'at gunpoint' referendums
  6. Lithuania raises army alert level after Russia's military call-up
  7. Finland 'closely monitoring' new Russian mobilisation
  8. Flights out of Moscow sell out after Putin mobilisation order

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  5. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling

Latest News

  1. Ireland joins EU hawks on Russia, as outrage spreads
  2. Editor's weekly digest: Plea for support edition
  3. Investors in renewables face uncertainty due to EU profits cap
  4. How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes
  5. 'No big fish left' for further EU sanctions on Russians
  6. Meloni's likely win will not necessarily strengthen Orbán
  7. France latest EU member to step up government spending in 2023
  8. Big Tech now edges out Big Energy in EU lobbying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us