Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission announced that the EU is prepared to impose sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine.
European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders described Russia’s recognition of separatist regions in Ukraine and the decision to send troops there as an act of war, according to AP reporting on Tuesday.
He pointed out that unanimous support from bloc members is required to impose sanctions and predicted that measures will change over time depending on Moscow’s actions.
Reynders announced that initial measures will include asset freezes and travel bans targeting individuals and entities.
“It will be necessary to ensure that there are no more imports of goods or services from Russia, such as energy, and that Russia’s global access to financial services is terminated,” he added.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, noted that EU foreign ministers will decide on the sanctions later on Tuesday.
He stressed that the bloc will not impose the entire range of sanctions prepared in case of Russian invasion of Ukraine, pointing out that the sanctions will address Moscow’s recognition of separatist regions as independent.
Commenting on Russia’s decision to send peacekeeping forces to the two regions in question, Borrell noted “I wouldn’t say that’s a fully fledged invasion, but Russian troops are on Ukrainian soil.”
French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned Russia’s recognition of the regions and added that France “will take the initiative to impose sanctions.”
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde described Russia’s move as “a blatant violation of international law,” stressing that Russia violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Her Danish counterpart Jeppe Kofod called on Russia to “stop its breach of international law” and described its move as harmful.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö announced the country would coordinate its response with the rest of the EU.
Norway condemned Moscow’s move and warned that it “directly contradicts the spirit and the letter of the Minsk agreements.”
Greece pointed out that “Russia’s recognition of the illegal and unilateral declaration of ‘independence’ of the separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine is a clear violation of fundamental principles of international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the Minsk agreements.”
Turkey condemned Russia’s move and described it as a “clear violation of Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” calling on “all parties to use common sense and comply with international law.”