EU Suspends Financial Cooperation with Russia
New American round of sanctions is enhanced by the European Council’s decision to impose restrictive measure against Moscow.
The leaders of the European Union agreed today to suspend financial cooperation with Russia. This action imposes restrictions on the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to cooperate with Moscow due to what the Europeans understand as Russia’s incoherent performance in the Ukrainian crisis.
Heads of State and Government also decided to expand a community-wide legal basis for its sanctions to reach a larger range of entities that threaten the integrity of Ukraine, diplomatic sources explained. The twenty-eight members made ??these decisions during an extraordinary summit dedicated to nominate candidates for the top positions of the institutions of the EU, which also deals with international issues.
The European Council in its conclusions regretted that the requirements it demanded from Russia had not been met, even though according to its members, they could have helped difuse tensions with Ukraine.
Therefore, they agreed to “expand the restrictive measures directed against institutions, including the Russian Federation, in ways that affect the country materially and financially. The EU now considers Russia’s behavior as actions that undermine and threaten the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. EU members urged the Foreign Ministers of the Union, which will meet in Brussels on Tuesday, to prepare the legal documents required for this purpose, so that the measure is effective.
The meeting also agreed to determine in late July the elements of a list of new sanctions to be adopted against Russia under this criterion, and to consider focusing on individuals or entities that support those responsible for the annexation of Crimea by Russia or the destabilization in eastern Ukraine.
The European Council asked the EIB to “stop signing new financial operations in Russia” and urged the Member States to coordinate their positions with the EBRD cadre to “suspend new financing operations” and projects involving the public sector in Russia.
Finally, the leaders invited the European Commission to reassess programs established between the EU and Russia to whether it would be possible to suspend such programs as well as the implementation of bilateral or regional programs. At the same time, the EU will seek to maintain programs dedicated to ensure the orderly movement across borders and those that are related to the cooperation between civil societies
So far, the EU has sanctioned 72 people it considered responsible for threatening the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine in the east, and two entities in Crimea and Sevastopol.
The sanctions intend to freeze the assets they may have in the EU and implement visa bans to enter the Community. EU leaders also decided to lift the embargo it had imposed in February regarding the shipment of anti-riot equipment to Ukraine, while president Viktor Yanukovych was still in power.
For its part, the U.S. government announced a new package of economic sanctions against several banks and Russian energy companies as a result of the intervention of Russia in the east of Ukraine. Among the companies subject to these sanctions are Russia’s Gazprombank and Vnesheconombank banks and energy companies Rosneft and OAO Novatek.
According to the American Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury, David S. Cohen, the new sanctions are the result of “Russia failing to meet basic standards of international conduct.” The new sanctions will impose “limits on the access that the two Russian banks have in the United States as well as the funding for two key energy companies,” in the U.S..
Russian President, Vladimir Putin has called the new round of sanctions a failure of American diplomacy and a way to seek revenge and retaliate against Russia.