The European Union agreed to add 11 new names on Wednesday to the list of persons targeted with asset freezes and travel bans over the Ukraine crisis and the sanctions are likely to take effect on Saturday, an EU diplomat said on Wednesday (9 July).
“The list consists mainly of Ukrainian separatists; there may be one or two Russians there as well,” the diplomat said after a meeting of EU ambassadors that addressed the issue.
The names will be published in the official journal of the European Union in the coming days.
So far, the EU has imposed limited measures, targeting 61 people in Russia and Ukraine with asset freezes and travel bans, as well as two energy companies in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, seized and annexed by Moscow earlier this year.
EU leaders warned at a June 27 summit that the bloc could mete out more sanctions against Russia unless pro-Moscow separatist forces wound down the crisis in the east of Ukraine within a few days.
They demanded that the rebels agree to ceasefire verification arrangements, return Ukrainian border checkpoints to Kiev authorities, free hostages and launch serious talks on implementing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan.
“The new names were added because of the non-compliance with the conditions set out by EU leaders in June,” the diplomat said.
Poroshenko decided a week ago to call off a patchy ten-day ceasefire and resume an offensive against the rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The EU has hesitated to impose hard-hitting trade sanctions against Russia because of fears among some member states about antagonising their major energy supplier.
The crisis in Ukraine erupted after its former President Viktor Yanukovich cancelled plans to sign trade and political pacts with the EU in November 2013 and instead sought closer ties with Russia, triggering protests that turned bloody and drove him from power.
Moscow annexed Crimea in March following a referendum staged after Russian forces established control over the Black Sea peninsula in the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War.
Pro-Russian militants control buildings in more than ten towns in eastern Ukraine after launching their uprising on 6 April. On 11 May pro-Moscow rebels declared a resounding victory in a referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk, which the West called illegal and illegitimate.