EU extends sanctions: No more European public money flowing into Russia

The European Council condemned the continuation of illegal activities by armed militants in Eastern Ukraine, including the occupation of public buildings, hostage-taking and armed attacks on Ukrainian law enforcers and border guards, and urged the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow the weapons and militants across the border.

The European Council recalls the decision of 11 July to expand the travel ban and asset freeze within the European Union to 11 new individuals for actions undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Member States also agreed to discontinue the application of their agreement of 20 February 2014 on export licences.

‘At our June summit, we requested four steps on the ground, and we regret that since then they have not been adequately taken. The flow of weapons and personnel across the borders is uninterrupted and violence continues. There are still no substantial peace negotiations. We also consider that the Russian side has not sufficiently used its influence on the separatists to de- escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine,’ said the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy after the special meeting of the European Council.

The EU top official recalled that last week the Council had already extended the list of targeted individuals. And then he presented a list of new steps:

First. We expand the restrictive measures, with a view to targeting entities, so not only individuals, as we did until now, – entities “that are materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukrainian sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.”

As an extra element, we also ask the Council to consider possibly targeting individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine. [The full list is due in late July – Belsat]

Second measure. We put a brake on European public money flowing into Russia. Leaders request the European Investment Bank to suspend new financing operations of public sector projects in Russia.

Third, will coordinate our positions within the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with the same intention.

Fourth: the European Commission will re-assess bilateral EU-Russia cooperation programmes, on a case by case basis, with a view to suspend them. We will maintain projects dealing exclusively with civil society and cross border cooperation.

Fifth measure, specifically related to Crimea: because of its illegal annexation by Russia, we restrict European investment in Crimea and, sixth, we expect international financial institutions to refrain from financing projects that explicitly or implicitly recognise the illegal annexation.

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