The European Union is preparing a list of sanctions following Moscow’s move to recognize the Donbass republics and the deployment of Russia’s peacekeeping troops to the region. The penalties will target Russia and the breakaway regions.
According to Bloomberg, the measures may include a ban on mining in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, as well as the prohibition of trade with them. A limited list of individuals and legal entities may also be subject to EU sanctions, the news outlet reported, citing an EU diplomat.
Late on Monday, President Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which have been fighting for independence from Ukraine since 2014.
Treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance were signed between the republics’ leaders and Moscow on Tuesday. Putin instructed the Russian Foreign Ministry to establish diplomatic relations with the two regions, and the Russian Defense Ministry to ensure peace on their territories, effectively ordering a deployment of Russian troops to the area.
Putin’s move predictably caused a negative reaction among NATO countries and their partners, seen by them as a violation of international law. Western states had previously threatened Moscow with sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine. Following Donbass’ recognition, the EU Parliament’s largest grouping – the European People’s Party (EPP) – called on the bloc to immediately follow through on this threat, introducing new anti-Russian sanctions in order “to progressively lock Russia out of the European economy, without compromise.”
“The recognition of the two separatist territories in Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the Minsk agreements… The EU’s reaction must be immediate. A new sanctions package must be adopted,” declared Manfred Weber, chairman of the EPP Group.
EU High Representative Josep Borrell said the first batch of anti-Russian sanctions will be officially formulated at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Tuesday afternoon. Borrell noted, however, that he could not yet describe what was happening in Donbass as a “full-scale invasion.”
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