The EU is expanding, but not intensifying its sanctions against Russia. The European Council has adopted conclusions, which further expand stage two sanctions, but without passing to stage three, EU official have said. The list of people targeted by stage two measures is to be expanded by 12 names, bringing it to a total of 33, “some of them really high ranking”, says the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, at a news conference following the first day of the EU Council.
There are rumours circulating that Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, is among those targeted. The full list of names will be published tomorrow.
Additionally, the Council has “asked the Commission to prepare possible targeted measures” against Russia, which are to be triggered by “any steps that further destabilize Ukraine.” Such steps by Russia will have « far reaching consequences », Mr. van Rompuy said. He refused to exclude the arms sector, saying the measured are broad and would target “all economic areas.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU is “ready to start stage three measures if the situation further escalates.”
“We are sending a clear strong and consistent message. It has been hard work but we made clear progress”, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement.
The French President Francois Hollande said that a new European Council meeting would be necessary to decide on economic sanctions if necessary. “In order for diplomacy to exist, there has to be pressure”, he said prior to the meeting.
Previously, the President of the European Parliament said he encourages EU to bring up “strengthened sanctions” in case further steps are taken by Russia. The President of the European Council refused to say exactly what kind of measure would trigger economic sanctions, saying review will be made on a case to case basis.
Further measures include the cancelling of the upcoming EU-Russia summit, as well as similar bilateral meetings on a national basis. The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, says that EU “wants Ukraine to become a democratic and prosperous country”, stressing EU-assistance to the government.
Furthermore, a EU observer mission might be sent to Ukraine if no deal is reached on an OSCE mission. “We prefer an OSCE mission”, Mr Van Rompuy said. This issue has been subsequently hindered by Russian vetoes.
Economic sanctions against Russia are highly controversial, as they obligatory have repercussions on EU member states. This comes as many member states have close economic ties with Russia, not only on natural gas.