Russia Confronts New EU Sanctions As It Begin To Take Effect Over Ukraine Crisis

Posted on Sep 12, 2014

After the delay of the enforcement of the new EU sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the sanctions take its effect on Friday.

On Thursday, the EU nations decided that new sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis will start on Friday. However, the said sanctions could be lifted next month if Moscow stands for the delicate truce. Meanwhile, the United States government is also preparing their own set of fresh sanctions.

The target of the new EU sanctions against Russia is to keep pressure over its role on the Ukraine crisis. The sanctions aim major oil firms, defense companies and state-owned banks, repudiating them access to finance in crucial European markets. They also blacklisted 24 individuals to faced travel ban and asset freeze. The sanctions took effect after being published in the EU’s official journal.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the EU of taking a route towards destabilization of the peace process. NATO says that Russia still has about 1,000 heavily armed troops in East Ukraine and about 20,000 troops near Ukrainian border. As per BBC report, the EU and the US also accused the Kremlin of unswervingly helping pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, however Moscow denied the allegations.

The EU finally approved the sanctions on Thursday after a week of disunions about the implementation of the sanctions despite a ceasefire in Ukraine. EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the penal sanctions that took effect Friday could be eased after an evaluation of the truce at the end of September.

The truce agreement was signed on September 5 in Minsk, Belarus between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists that includes a ceasefire, a special political status for separatist controlled areas and a prisoner exchange.

The EU sanctions will block the export services and deep-water technology for Russia’s oil industry. Three major Russian state oil firms are also targeted while big Russian state-owned banks will be banned from getting loans with a maturity longer than a month, and from getting other financial services in the EU.

Earlier Russian officials confronted the new EU sanctions. Russian presidential aide, Andrei Belousov said that the imported second-hand cars from the EU could be targeted in retribution; while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that Russia might barred its airspace to European passenger planes, a move that could trigger many struggling airlines into bankruptcy. However, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Russia will react calmly and appropriately and will proceed from the need to defend their interests.

As the new EU sanctions took effect, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he never felt the level of solidarity before. He also added that there is no military solution for the crisis and should keep Ukraine united.

US President Barack Obama said that they would join the EU in enforcing tougher sanctions on Russia, targeting the defense, finance and energy sectors. Details of such sanctions were announced by Obama on Friday.       

The Ukraine crisis has killed at least 3,000 people since April. And as the new EU sanctions took its effect, Ukraine officials hoped that the very delicate ceasefire in the east of the country would hold to enable them to reestablish their crushed economy. EU will provide Russia time to adjust over the new trade pact and for an enduring truce to fully halt Ukraine crisis.

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