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Published On: Tue, Mar 13th, 2018

EU prolongs sanctions against Russia over Ukraine until September

nsnbc : On March the 12, 2018 the European Council (EC) prolonged sanctions targeting Russian interests over actions the EU perceives as undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for further six months, until September 15, 2018. The measures consist of asset freezes and travel restrictions. They continue to apply to 150 persons and 38 entities.

Moscow's way of organizing a referendum - Either you are with us or you are with the Nazis - not unlike G.W. Bush's "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists". Photo, courtesy of ITAR-TASS. EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Moscow’s way of organizing a referendum – Either you are with us or you are with the Nazis – not unlike G.W. Bush’s “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”. Photo, courtesy of ITAR-TASS. EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

The European Council noted that an assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime. The relevant information and statement of reasons for the listing of these persons and entities were updated as necessary. The legal acts will be available in the EU Official Journal of 13 March 2018. Other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis include:

  • economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 July 2018;
  • restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2018.

Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to what the EU and Ukraine perceive as the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilization of Ukraine. The EU imposes different types of restrictive measures:

  • diplomatic measures
  • individual restrictive measures (asset freeze and travel restrictions)
  • restrictions on economic relations with Crimea and Sevastopol
  • economic sanctions
  • restrictions on economic cooperation
Diplomatic measures

In 2014, the EU-Russia summit was cancelled and EU member states decided not to hold regular bilateral summits. Bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as well as on the new agreement between the EU and Russia were suspended. Instead of the G8 summit in Sochi, a G7 meeting was held in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014. Since then, meetings have continued within the G7 process. EU countries also supported the suspension of negotiations over Russia’s joining the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Individual restrictive measures

Asset freeze and travel restrictions – 150 people and 38 entities are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban because their actions undermined Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. The EU published the list of persons and entities under EU restrictive measures over the territorial integrity of Ukraine introduced in 2014 and now extended until September 15, 2018.

Misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds  –  In March 2014, the Council decided to freeze the assets of individuals responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds. These measures were last extended in March 2018 until 6 March 2019.

Restrictions on economic relations with Crimea and Sevastopol

The European Council adopted restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. The measures apply to EU persons and EU based companies. They are limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol. These measures include:

  • an import ban on goods from Crimea and Sevastopol
  • restrictions on trade and investment related to certain economic sectors and infrastructure projects
  • a prohibition to supply tourism services in Crimea or Sevastopol
  • an export ban for certain goods and technologies

 On 19 June 2017, the Council extended these measures until 23 June 2018.

Economic sanctions targeting exchanges with Russia in specific economic sectors

In July and September 2014, the EU imposed economic sanctions targeting exchanges with Russia in specific economic sectors. In March 2015, EU leaders decided to align the existing sanctions regime to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, foreseen for the end of December 2015. Since this did not happen, the Council extended economic sanctions until 31 July 2016.

The economic sanctions were prolonged for 6 months successively on 1 July 2016, 19 December 2016, 28 June 2017, and 21 December 2017. The extension was decided each time following an assessment of the Minsk agreements implementation. The economic sanctions are currently extended until 31 July 2018. These restrictive measures:

  • limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies
  • impose an export and import ban on trade in arms
  • establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia
  • curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration
Measures concerning economic cooperation

Restrictions on economic cooperation were introduced by EU leaders in July 2014:

  • the EIB was requested to suspend the signature of new financing operations in the Russian Federation
  • EU member states agreed to coordinate their positions within the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Board of Directors with a view to also suspend the financing of new operations
  • the implementation of EU bilateral and regional cooperation programmes with Russia was re-assessed and certain programmes suspended.

The European Union reiterated that it supports Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens. The EU also stressed that it is unwavering in its support for the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and sees the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable, political solution to the conflict in the east of the country. Since spring 2014, the EU has stepped up its support for economic and political reforms in Ukraine.

F/AK – nsnbc 13.03.2018

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