EU to adopt Russia sanctions 'this afternoon': foreign policy chief

  • 2022-02-22

PARIS - European Union foreign ministers will adopt sanctions Tuesday against Russia over its recognition of Ukrainian separatist regions and further deployment of troops on its neighbor's territory, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

"Of course our response will be in the form of sanctions, whose extent the ministers will decide... I'm sure there will be a unanimous decision" required for the measures, Borrell told reporters in Paris.

He added that the text of the possible measures was being prepared during the morning while the ministers attend a forum with Indo-Pacific nations in the French capital.

The decision itself would come "this afternoon" at an emergency meeting that he has called on the sidelines of the forum in Paris, Borrell said.

Borrell would not be drawn on the details of the sanctions, which are expected to fall on the same day as punitive measures by the US and Britain.

Washington has already banned US persons from any financial dealings with the breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine whose independence was recognized by Russian President Vladimir Putin late Monday.

Shortly after the announcement, Putin ordered troops into the two regions as part of a "peacekeeping" operation.

"Russian troops have entered Donbas, we consider Donbas part of Ukraine," Borrell said Tuesday.

But the EU joined the US in holding off describing the deployment as an invasion that would trigger the harshest sanctions threatened by the West in recent months.

"I wouldn't say that's a fully-fledged invasion, but Russian troops are on Ukrainian soil," Borrell added.

In a joint statement, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that “a first package of sanctions will be formally tabled later this afternoon” on Russia over its incursion into Ukraine on Monday night.

This package, they said, will include proposals to “target those who were involved in the illegal decision” as well as “banks that are financing Russian military and other operations in those territories.” It will also “target the ability of the Russian state and government to access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services, to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies” and “target trade from the two breakaway regions to and from the EU, to ensure that those responsible clearly feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggressive actions.”