EU about to reach final approval of new anti-Russian sanctions - sources

  • 2019-02-23
  • Interfax/TBT Staff

BERLIN/BRUSSELS - The Council of the European Union is simultaneously carrying out two sanctions procedures with respect to Russia at the stages prior to the final approval of sanctions by the EU countries, a European diplomatic source told Interfax in Berlin on Friday.

The interlocutor of the news agency said it has already been reported that the European Union Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) has agreed on Wednesday that individual sanctions ending on March 15 against individuals and organizations, which have been involved in violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, will be extended. He said that this is up to the EU Council to make an official decision, which will certainly take place before March 15.

The source added that it has also been reported about the work on sanctions against individuals, who are blamed for violating the international rules of navigation with the unjustified use of force in the region of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, and for obstructing the free navigation in the Kerch Strait and the illegal seizure of Ukrainian naval sailors. He said that High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has talked about that after the EU Foreign Affairs Council last Monday.

These are two different procedures; they are proceeding separately, the diplomat said, when asked to comment on some media reports that the COREPER added several more individuals to this sanctions list over the Kerch Strait incident on February 20. The EU Council is to make a decision regarding both procedures, he said, noting that the EU Council will probably make these decisions at the same time, but probably will not. The diplomat said that it is still early to talk about that and he will not disclose any deadlines. He said that when these decisions take place, persons, who will fall under the Kerch sanctions, will be added to the common individual sanctions list.

The diplomat said that Russian media have made these hasty reports, with their authors citing some sources, who are unfamiliar to the EU. But this is not the EU which should be asked for any commentaries on this issue. He said that the COREPER has discussed the individual sanctions list in its current form and without any supplements.

Another diplomatic source in the EU bodies elaborated on the issue to Interfax in Brussels.

The diplomat said that some more individuals or organizations are added to the individual sanctions list, as long as it is needed. This has already happened, he said, referring to the situation that took place on September 10, 2018, when the EU Council added nine individuals to the sanctions list in connection with their involvement in the illegal election in eastern Ukraine on November 11, 2018.

The interlocutor of the news agency said in the situation surrounding the Kerch Strait incident two separate legal decisions, but they could have been combined in one decision, are envisaged, but they may be approved by the EU Council on the same day. He said that the EU Council has yet not set the date of making such a decision.