EU agrees on travel bans and asset freezes for Russians in response to Ukraine crisis
By End the Lie
The European Union agreed on a framework for their first round of sanctions on Russia since the Cold War in response to the situation in Crimea, including bans on travel and asset freezes on certain people and firms.
This comes after Secretary of State John Kerry indefinitely delayed a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian forces continued to take control of bases in Crimea and Russia held air defense drills.
The EU move was stronger than many had expected, according to Reuters, and will target “an as-yet-undecided list of people and firms accused by Brussels of violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The sanctions will be imposed on Monday if diplomatic progress is not made, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The referendum that could make Crimea part of Russia will be held Sunday, even though the West continues to maintain that the vote is illegal.
While Washington has also announced a series of sanctions to be imposed on Russia, the measures imposed by the European Union would likely hit Russia harder.
Reuters points out that “Europe buys most of Russia’s oil and gas exports, while the United States is only a minor trade partner. The EU’s 335 billion euros of trade with Russia in 2012 was worth around 10 times that of the United States.”
Another Reuters article noted that the sanctions are being coordinated in concert with the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Japan and Canada.
This collaboration is part of “an effort to ensure the sanctions net is as tight and effective as possible.”
“Member states shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into, or transit through, their territories of the natural persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” Article 1 of the document states, according to Reuters.
The second article states “all funds and economic resources [in the EU] belonging to, owned, held or controlled” by those deemed responsible for undermining Ukrainian integrity “shall be frozen.”
The document was approved after none of the EU member states objected to the phrasing of the document, according to unnamed officials.
Foreign ministers of EU states will convene on Monday to formally sign off on the restrictions, unless Russia changes course significantly.
“When it comes to sanctions on Russia, a decision has in fact already been made, especially on the procedure of introducing sanctions,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said at a press conference, according to ITAR-TASS.
Officials reportedly stated that Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will not be on the sanctions list so that communications channels can remain open, according to Fox News.
Officials from the U.S., U.K., Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan met to discuss the issue in London on Tuesday, Fox News reports.
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