Saturday, October 25, 2014


Russia

EU Adopts Broad Economic Sanctions Against Russia

The new sanctions will limit the operational ability of major Russian banks, including Sberbank (pictured) and VTB Bank, according to "The Wall Street Journal."
The new sanctions will limit the operational ability of major Russian banks, including Sberbank (pictured) and VTB Bank, according to "The Wall Street Journal."
By RFE/RL

The European Union has agreed to impose broad economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged role in the Ukraine crisis. 

EU ambassadors agreed the measures at a meeting in Brussels on July 29.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement the measures will restrict access to EU capital markets for Russian state-owned banks, impose an embargo on trade in arms, and restrict exports of dual-use goods and sensitive technologies, particularly in the field of the oil sector.

Later in the day, the U.S. Treasury Department added three banks to a list of sectoral sanctions and sanctioned one shipbuilding company in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Previously, EU leaders have been reluctant to impose broad economic sanctions on Russia, the bloc's third-biggest trading partner and a key energy supplier.

EU ambassadors on July 29 also added eight individuals, including four close business associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and three entities to a list of 87 individuals and 20 entities subject to EU sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. 

Calls for tougher sanctions increased following the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, allegedly by Russia-backed separatists. 

All 298 people on board were killed when the plane was downed on July 17.  

In his statement Van Rompuy said the new EU sanctions are a "powerful signal" to the Russian leadership.

But he said the EU could reverse its decisions and reengage with Russia "when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the new EU sanctions "inevitable," and said Russia must now decide whether to take the path of deescalation and cooperation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking after talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Washington on July 29, said there has been no "shred of evidence" that Russia is working to end the violence in Ukraine. 

Kerry said the United States was prepared to impose additional sanctions on Russia if it continues to ship weapons, funds and fighters across the border to support the separatists in Ukraine.

Hours later, Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank, and VTB Bank were added to a list of companies to which U.S. persons and firms are barred from providing financing for longer than 90 days or issuing new equity for the companies.

However, U.S. individuals are not barred from doing business with them.

Moscow denies accusations it gives weapons to the rebels, including the missile allegedly used to shoot down the Malaysian plane.

 

With reporting by RFE/RL's Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels, Luke Johnson in Washington, Reuters, and AFP

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