RIGA - The European Union's (EU) Foreign Affairs Council at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday agreed to impose sanctions on Russia, with the first sanctions package targeting banks, politicians and elements of the financial sector, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said on Twitter.
The Latvian minister indicated that further measures will follow if the situation escalates and added that the bloc's decisions have been coordinated with transatlantic partners.
In a conversation with LETA, the minister said that lists of the sanctioned persons and entities will be made public shortly.
Asked why it is important to sanction these particular sectors, Rinkevics said that first of all. these are people that are linked to Russia's decision to recognize independence of the "People's Republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Secondly, the sanctions will apply to the financial and trade sector to impede and hamper financial contacts. Thirdly, the sanctions have been agreed with transatlantic partners, Rinkevics said.
The minister added that after the adoption of the political decision at the informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, the decision will soon be approved in a legal procedure, which is likely to be in a written form.
Asked if the EU Foreign Affairs Council also discussed possible further sanctions, Rinkevics conformed that the matter was discussed and that member states will work on proposals for a second package of sanctions.
As reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree on recognition of independence of Ukrainian separatist republics and the treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid.
On Monday evening, Putin ordered the Defense Ministry to ensure that the Russian armed forces "maintained peace" in the eastern Ukrainian territories that have already been occupied earlier by bringing Russian armies in them.