Friday 21 October 2016

EU Imposes New Sanctions in 'Strong Warning' to Russia

K Mammen Mathew/Berlin

The European Union has for the first time slapped comprehensive economic sanctions on Russia and banned the exports of military goods and sensitive technologies in the energy sector for its "failure" to de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

A package of punitive measures agreed at an emergency meeting of the EU ambassadors in Brussels yesterday will also restrict Russian banks' access to the European financial markets and curb the exports of high technology for the Russian armed forces.

These measures will ensure that some key sectors of the Russian economy will be brought under the sanctions regime for the first time since the EU began imposing penalties on Russia following its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March.

The EU's sanctions so far have been limited to visa ban on top Russian government officials and various individuals allegedly involved in the Ukraine crisis, freezing of their assets and suspension of partnership dialogue between the EU and the Russian Federation.

More than 80 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities are currently on the sanctions list of the EU.

The EU is hoping that the new measures will put pressure on Russia to change its course on Ukraine and to seek a negotiated settlement to the crisis, which was sparked by the refusal of the former pro-Russian government in Kiev to sign an association agreement with the EU in November, last year.

These measures represented a "powerful warning" to the Russian Federation that destabilising Ukraine or any other eastern European neighbouring state will bring heavy costs to its economy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Hermann Van Rompuy said in a joint statement.

Russia will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions, they said.

They offered the European Union's readiness to reverse its decision and to re-engage with Russia "when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis".

The Russian Federation and the EU have important common interests. The two sides will benefit from an open and frank dialogue, from increased cooperation and exchanges, the statement said.

"But we cannot pursue this important positive agenda when Crimea is illegally annexed, when the Russian Federation supports armed revolt in eastern Ukraine," it said.

The new measures will come into force after they are endorsed by the heads of state and government of the EU in the coming days.

The EU had so far shied away from imposing tough economic sanctions because of its strong economic ties with Russia, especially its heavy dependence on Russian natural gas and petroleum imports.

Russia is one of the leading markets for several EU member nations and there has been concern that retaliatory sanctions by Russia could hurt their economies.

However, the pressure on the EU to take tougher actions against Russia mounted after the apparent downing of the Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine two weeks ago.

Western nations allege that it was brought down by a Russia-supplied surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, a charge which Russia strongly denies.

The rebels have been denounced by EU nations for blocking access to the crash site for international investigators.

© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
50 Villages Marooned in Thane After Heavy Rains At Least 20 Dead, Dozens Missing in Shipwreck Off Libya
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail

More than a decade after India first started the procurement process, it has finally inked an €8bn agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The original deal was to buy 126 Rafales to replace the accident-prone Russian MiG-21s. Ultimately, the government offered to buy only 36 ready-to-fly planes.

POLL STARTED ON: Sep 26, 2016
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016