Josep Borrell press conference informal meeting Eu FA Council 22_02_2022_cabecera

Ukraine crisis.- The European Union unveils the first batch of economic sanctions but still does not discard the diplomatic path to avoid a major conflict

This afternoon the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security has unveiled the first batch of economic sanctions that the EU is swiftly aplying as its response to the recognition of the sovereignity of the self-declared Popular republics of Donetsk and Lugansk by Vladimir Puting and the sending of Russian troops to pacify the Donbass region.

The package contains a number of calibrated sanctions that directly target individuals and companies involved in the violations of the sovereignity and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

They target banks that finance the Russian military apparatus and contribute to the destabilisation of Ukraine. The European Union is also banning trade between the two breakaway regions and the EU, as it was done after the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.

And finally, the European Union is limiting the Russian government´s ability to raise capital on the EU’s financial markets. The objective is making it as difficult as possible for the Kremlin to pursue its aggressive policies.

After the Foreign Ministers EU Council unformal meeting that took place this afternoon Borrell informed on this package of sanctions during a press conference held in Paris.

Persons and entities to be sanctioned

Among the individuals and entities whom target the sanctions they are included:

a) The 35 members o the Russian Duma who voted the agreement recognising the sovereignity of the self-declared Popular Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk will be listed in the sanctions list

b) 27 Russian individuals and entities that are playing a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity and sovereignity of Ukraine:

b.1.- Decission makers

b2.- Entities supporting financially, materially or benefitting from them:

-Those in the deffence sector

-Those playing a key role in the disinformation campaign against Ukraine

-Banks financing Russian decission makers and other operations in Donetsk and Lugansk territories

Borrell and Jean-Yves Le Drian_Pres conference sanctions Ukraine
Left to right: Josep Borrell (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security) Jean-Yves Le Drian (Minister for Europe and for Foreign Affairs of France). Photo © France Diplomatie – MEAE

“We are affraid, we believe that this story has not finished. We are also looking closely to the next move in Belarus, who have aid and supported the Russian actions contributing to undermine and threatened the territorial integrity of Ukraine and I am ready to put on the table asI did today a suggestion to enlarge the listed criteria to capture those who have supported or benefited from the Russian Government actions,” Borrell added.

Bans on commercial relations and investments with and in Donetsk and Lugansk

There are sanctions, Borrell explained, targeting economic and commercial relations between those territories and the European Union, exactly as we did un the Crimea case, to ensure that those responsible of the situation feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggresive actions (commercial and investment bans)

Ban on the access of Russian sovereign debt to European financial markets

“And last but not least, and this is very important,” Borrell said, “we target the ability of the Russian State and Government to access to our capital financial markets and services limiting the financing of their policies through banning the access of their sovereign debt to our financial markets.”
“This package is completed with a decission that don’t belong to the European Union but to Germany. I want to say a word about the decission of Germany for making our united decissions today still stronger anouncing that they stop the qualification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” he added.

Support to Ukraine against cyber attacks

“The European Union will send a mission to Ukraine to help the Government face the cyber attacks that have already started,” Josep Borrell explained.

The EU is still not leaving the diplomatic option

“Besides this table of sanctions Borrell said thet the diplomatic path is still open to avoid a warin Europe. “I fully concord with the United Nations that the risk of a major conflict is real and we need to prevent it at all costs” Borrell underscored that will continue the work in the UN and OSCE, specially through the OSCE to bring Russia back to negotiations,” underscored the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security.

Just a first batch of sanctions with many more still in the toolbox

Josep Borrell ended his explanations saying: “Summing up the grave violations that Russia is comitting will not go unanswered , we are strongly united on this front and we will rise the level of sanctions substantially according with the Russian behavior, because many question marks are pending in this critical moments: the anexation?; what is going to happen with this ‘republics’, which are still under the control of the Kiev Government?, because the part of Donbass which is in the hands of the separatists is now ocupied by the Russian army and that is a 30% of the territory of Ukraine. Next question mark, what is going to happen with the west?. So we will continue vigilant”…”we keep munition in our toolbox, to continue sanctioning the Russian behavior, if needed”.

Image over the headline.- Josep Borrell. European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security. Photo © France Diplomatie – MEAE

Related external links:

Statement by Ursula von der Leyen on the first batch of sanctions (video)

Press conference on the situation in Ukraine and the first batch of economic sanctions agreed by the European Union today (video)

Related Eastwind links (English edition):

Zelenski, to declare the emergency state in Ukraine

Ukraine crisis.- A coordinated pool of economic sanctions, relocation of troops and no further diplomatic meetings till Russia withdarws their war effectives, the answer of US President, Joe Biden

Ukraine crisis.- UK Government announces first economic sanctions against banks and Russian individuals

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Related Eastwind links (Spanish edition):

Putin reconoce la soberanía de las Repúblicas de Donetsk y Lugansk y envía tropas para pacificar la zona

Albares llama a la unidad de todos los partidos políticos en la resolución de un conflicto que puede costar caro y no sólo a Ucrania

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