Tag Archives: European Union

Backing #Russia into a corner will have consequences…


What does Vladimir Putin and a cornered rat have in commonWhat does Vladimir Putin and a cornered rat have in common?

World leaders need to come together and sit around the table themselves (not their elected representatives) and talk before this crisis reaches a point where there is no turning back.

Sanctions finally find #Russia’s Achilles heel


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin gestures as he chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, June 25, 2014Russia’s President Vladimir Putin gestures as he chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, June 25, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama were reportedly engaged in a heated telephone conversation last Thursday when Putin noted in passing that an aircraft had gone down in Ukraine. The tragic crash of the Malaysian airliner in rebel-held eastern Ukraine continues to dominate the headlines, but it is important to remember what agitated Putin and prompted the phone call in the first place — sanctions.

Sanctions against Russia have been the centerpiece of the U.S. response to Putin’s interference in Ukraine. While they primarily have been directed against prominent friends of Putin and their businesses, the underlying target has been a weak Russian economy.  The sanctions have definitely found Russia’s Achilles’ heel, and with harsher sanctions looming in the aftermath of flight MA17, Putin is finding it increasingly difficult to craft an effective reply.

Obama had raised the ante for Russia the day before the Malaysian airliner disaster by unexpectedly announcing a new round of sanctions. The designated enterprises included several major Russian banks (Gazprombank, VEB), energy companies (Rosneft, Novatek) and arms manufacturers. They were not, however, the full sectoral sanctions that Putin dreads the most. These would essentially exclude Russia from the international financial system and restrict major technological transfers. Though key Russian banks and energy companies are now prohibited from receiving medium or long-term dollar financing, U.S. companies are not otherwise prohibited from conducting business with them.

But even by hinting as to what sectoral sanctions might look like, Obama has upset Russia’s economic calculations. Obama is often criticized for not backing up the “red lines” that he draws. But in Ukraine, Obama essentially has drawn a “gray line” — demanding Russia take certain actions to end the crisis. No one knows when this gray line is crossed, however. So these new sanctions only heighten the uncertainty — and risk — of doing business in Russia. Continue reading

Reuters: Yatseniuk says Ukraine to impose sanctions on Russian individuals, firms


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on July 23: 'I instruct the committee to propose for the government's consideration a list of individual and sector sanctions on Russian citizens and legal entities supporting and financing terrorism in Ukraine in 10 days.' © AFPUkrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on July 23: ‘I instruct the committee to propose for the government’s consideration a list of individual and sector sanctions on Russian citizens and legal entities supporting and financing terrorism in Ukraine in 10 days.’ © AFP

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on July 23 Kyiv would impose sanctions on Russian individuals and companies who directly or indirectly support “terrorists” fighting against government troops in the country’s east.

Yatseniuk told a meeting of his ministers that he had set up a special committee to work on the punitive measures.

“I instruct the committee to propose for the government’s consideration a list of individual and sector sanctions on Russian citizens and legal entities supporting and financing terrorism in Ukraine in 10 days,” he said.

He did not give any details of what form the sanctions could take.

Kiev and the West accuse Russia of supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies. The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Ukraine.

Some in the West have called for tougher sanctions on Russia after a Malaysian airliner was downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine last Thursday killing all 298 on board.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Elizabeth Piper)


Reuters.

Associated Press: EU imposes new sanctions against Russian officials #MH17


A refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 departs Kharkiv railway station, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The train carrying the remains of people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday on their way to the Netherlands, a journey which has been agonizingly slow for relatives of the victims. (AP Photo/ Sergei Chizavkov)A refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 departs Kharkiv railway station, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The train carrying the remains of people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday on their way to the Netherlands, a journey which has been agonizingly slow for relatives of the victims. (AP Photo/ Sergei Chizavkov)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.

European foreign ministers stopped short, at least for now, of more forceful sanctions that would hit full sectors of the Russian economy.

The decision came soon after bodies of those killed in the crash reached Ukrainian government-controlled territory, leaving a war zone en route to the Netherlands after delays and haphazard treatment that put pressure on the Europeans to inflict tougher pressure on Russia.

Malaysian air crash investigators walk by wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. A team of Malaysian investigators visited the site along with members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine for the first time since the air crash last week.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)Malaysian air crash investigators walk by wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. A team of Malaysian investigators visited the site along with members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine for the first time since the air crash last week.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The crash last week in eastern Ukraine has heightened diplomatic tensions over the conflict in Ukraine and focused anger at Russia, from Washington to EU headquarters in Brussels to Malaysia. But Russian President Vladimir Putin remained combative Tuesday, lashing out at Ukraine’s military Tuesday for trying to dislodge the rebels.

The EU agreed to impose visa bans and asset freezes on more Russian officials, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said. He did not say how many officials were targeted or reveal their names.

He said the ministers also asked the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm to prepare for more sweeping sanctions — including targeting the arms, energy and financial sectors — if Russia fails to back down from destabilizing Ukraine. Continue reading

Poroshenko: ‘Russian society is full of aggression today’


Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech to the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 26, 2014.Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech to the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 26, 2014. © AFP

Note: Here is the full text of the speech given by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko at the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 26, as published on the president’s official website.

Madam President!

Dear Secretary General!

Dear members of the Assembly!

Dear participants!

Thank you for the invitation to speak to the Assembly.

I am grateful for the opportunity to convey to this respected forum the voice of the Ukrainian people from different parts of Ukraine – eastern and western, northern and southern, free and occupied.

Only a month has passed since the completion of the presidential campaign in the course of which I have travelled all over Ukraine.

I saw it as a peace-loving, hospitable to everyone and European state – not only by location, but also by vocation.

Ukraine has always been a hospitable home for all who came in peace.

Unfortunately, today this home is in danger.

There is a force that came to Ukraine not in peace.

Words like “annexation”, “separatism”, “mercenaries” emerged in our everyday vocabulary again.

What can we do to stop violence and prevent its transformation into a full-scale war?

Unfortunately, today, this issue concerns not only Ukraine. It concerns the whole of Europe.

Dear members of the assembly!

It all started last November when the previous government deprived Ukrainians of their dream refusing the European integration, not asking Ukrainians and not giving anything except corruption and disregard for human dignity. Ukraine got up and the Revolution of Dignity began. The people gained victory. This victory was gained with blood and numerous victims.  Continue reading