Merkel: new EU sanctions against Russia were unavoidable

Angela Merkel. Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin at Normandy
Angela Merkel. Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin at Normandy D-Day celebrations

The European Union's decision to impose broad sanctions against Russia was "unavoidable" after its actions in Ukraine and it is now up to Moscow to make the next move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday (29 July).

Earlier, the EU agreed for the first time to impose broad economic sanctions against Russian oil companies, banks and defence firms, by far the strongest international action yet over Moscow's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

>> Read: EU agrees new sanctions against Russia

"The decision today was thus unavoidable," Merkel said in a statement, adding that EU leaders had repeatedly warned Moscow that the annexation of Crimea and continued destabilisation of east Ukraine were not acceptable.

"It is now up to the leadership in Russia to decide whether they want to go the way of de-escalation and cooperation," Merkel said. "The EU sanctions can be reviewed but further steps are also possible."

Sanctions can be stepped up if necessary

The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the sanctions were meant as a "strong warning" that Russia's actions in Crimea were not unacceptable and would bring "heavy costs" to its economy.

"The European Union will fulfill its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbours and partners," the EU's top two officials said in a statement.

Several European diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said sanctions could be ratcheted up further if necessary.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, whose call for justice swayed EU peers last week, said the capital market restrictions "will have a far-reaching and immediate effect".

Natural gas deliveries not affected

The measures will shut major state-owned Russian banks out of European capital markets and target the defence sector and sensitive technologies, including oil, but exclude the vital gas sector, on which Europe is heavily dependent.

Some member states are nervous about the risk to their own economies, and EU leaders struggled to strike a balance between inflicting pain on Russia and preventing fragile EU nations from sliding back into recession.

In a letter to EU leaders last week, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the proposed sanctions package "should have a strong impact on Russia's economy while keeping a moderate effect on EU economies".

There was a consensus on only targeting future contracts, he said, which would leave France free to go ahead with the delivery of helicopter carrier warships is it building for Russia.

Another principle was that EU measures targeting energy technology could hit Russia's oil sector but not its natural gas. Russia is the world's biggest exporter of gas and second biggest exporter of oil; Europe depends on it far more for gas, which arrives mainly by pipeline and is harder to source from elsewhere than oil that arrives mostly by ship.

Financial sector ban

Probably the most high-impact measure will ban Europeans from buying new bonds or shares issued by banks owned 50% or more by the Russian state, which analysts say will affect their ability to finance the economy.

Syndicated loans were not included "at this stage", one senior EU diplomat said, adding that European banks will not be able to purchase targeted debt anywhere in the world.

"It applies to primary markets and to secondary markets, bonds and shares of targeted, well-defined, state-owned Russian banks," he said.

External links: 

Council of the European Union



Jay's picture

The more lies I catch from the US and it's NATO allies the more often my comments get deleted. So far, that hasn't happened here, I call this sorrow affair the way I see it and if the truth hurts it's because the perpetrators deserved it. Having said that, this how I see it:

Who were the causes for the 2008 crisis in the west?

This war was started by the West and Ukrainian nationalists. The first requirements of South-East were the adopting of the official state of Russian language and the decentralization (or federalisation). Ukrainian Nazi, pro-Western Nazi, didn't adopt this simplest democratic steps.

Human Rights Watch qualified actions of Ukrainian Army as war crimes. More and more international organizations like HRW, Red Cross etc. are waking up to the fact that Kiev government is a criminal gang waging war against its own people.

Ukraine office of national security which is under the command of longtime neo-Nazi activist Andriy Parubiy. Still left open are questions about the identity of snipers who on Feb. 20 fired on both police and protesters at the Maidan.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials say they have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

They say the passenger jet was likely felled by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and that Russia "created the conditions" for the downing by arming the separatists.

Today the world is waking up to the fact that Kyiv fighter piolets shot down MH17 after Kyiv flight control center deliberately rerouted it over Doekstk territory. Like the sniper killings in Maidan the West is fast tracking away from this subject
with the blood of the victims still dripping from their hands.

Here is what this war is really all about:

Russia will be selling its natural gas to Europe in any means of exchange it so desires, not including the petro dollar. That indeed is the real threat which concerns the United States. It is the petro dollar which keeps the US currency afloat. Absent that prop, enforced with the full might and power of the US military, the US dollar will enter a period of drastic decline. If the US can become the major supplier of natural gas to Europe, US can dictate the terms of sale, which of course must be carried out in dollars. Beware, this is setting the stage for a direct military confrontation with Russia. Just ask Saddam Hussein and Momar Gadaffi, both who attempted to circumvent the sanctity of the petro dollar.

Over the weekend, Washington used its US ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, to launch another fabricated social media post designed to blame Russia for “firing artillery over its border into the Ukraine”.

Moscow’s Defense Ministry came out immediately to demonstrating that the images posted by Pyatt on his Twitter account were in fact “faked”, as ITAR-TASS reported. It was simple to see that Pyatt had simply grabbed a series of images off of the Google World-style satellite mapping website Digital Globe, claiming it was “evidence” of Russia artillery fired into eastern Ukraine.