Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

EU to Extend Individual Sanctions in Response to Ukrainian Crisis

2 September 2015

During the meeting of EU ambassadors on September 2 it was agreed to extend sanctions against Russian individuals and companies, as well as pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine, who contributed to the annexation of Crimea and the insurgency in Eastern Ukraine. The asset freeze and travel bans were supposed to expire on September 15 but will be prolonged for six months until 15 March 2016, the official decision is expected in mid-September. The main objective is to ensure that the conditions of Minsk agreements are met by Moscow.

The sanctions where first introduced by the EU in March 2014 for people and entities responsible for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity. The restrictive measures target 150 people including senior Russian advisors and lawmakers among whom are six persons with close links to the Russian president, as well as Ukrainian separatists. Also on the list are 37 firms and other entities, including 13 which were confiscated by Moscow during the annexation of Crimea or which benefited from it. There had been some discussion on extending the targeted sanctions only until the end of January, as well as speculations on the possible pressure to reduce the size of the list. Previously in June the EU agreed to extend broader economic sanctions against Russia until January 2016.

Russia and Ukraine must complete by December 31 implementation of the Minsk Agreements. For Ukraine, that means agreeing to increase autonomy of the eastern regions of the country. The initial vote of approval by the Ukrainian parliament provoked this week a violent protest resulting in the death of three members of the National Guard. Later this year the deputies will have a final vote on the decentralisation reform.

For Russia, compliance with the Minsk Agreements means withdrawing all forces from Ukraine and returning control of Eastern Ukraine to Kyiv.

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