EU to hit Russia with sanctions that ‘will hurt a lot’ – Borrell
The EU has agreed to impose new anti-Russia sanctions in retaliation to Moscow’s decision to recognize the breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine. These range from limiting access to European financial markets to targeting individual officials behind the move, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.
The upcoming sanctions “will hurt Russia and will hurt a lot,” the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs said in Paris, speaking alongside France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Accusing Moscow of committing “grave violations,” Borrell said neither the recognition of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics, nor further steps by Russia in Ukraine, will go “unanswered.”
The EU would target 27 individuals and entities, allegedly involved in undermining the integrity of Ukraine, Borrell said. The bloc will also sanction all the 351 members of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, who voted in favor of recognizing the two republics.
According to Borrell, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not on the sanctions list.
“We will raise the level of sanctions in proportion to Russian behavior,” Borrell added.
Borrell has added that the sanctions package would also affect the Russian finances, limiting Moscow’s ability to access EU’s financial markets, but did not provide any further details on that. The official has warned that the sanctions may even get worse depending on Russia’s actions in relation to Ukraine.
The EU was still open for diplomacy despite opting for the introduction of the new anti-Russia sanctions, Le Drian said. “This firm stance leaves the door open to diplomacy. But over the past few weeks this hard diplomatic work has come to nothing,” France’s top diplomat maintained.
Putin recognized the sovereignty of the two breakaway eastern Ukrainian republics on Monday, with the decision getting promptly ratified by the country’s legislature. Putin claimed the move was necessary to protect the people of Lugansk and Donetsk, arguing that Kiev had shown no willingness to resolve the eight-year-long conflict through negotiations, and was instead gearing up for war. The Russian president insists that Kiev has completely given up on the Minsk accords, saying on Tuesday that the ceasefire agreements have been “killed.”
On Tuesday, Russia’s Senate gave Putin authorization to use Russian military force abroad, paving the way to deploying a peacekeeping mission to the Donbass. Speaking to reporters later in the day, Putin said they should not assume an immediate deployment of the military was on the cards, adding that the nature of such deployments will depend on Kiev’s moves.