The European Union targeted 15 officials and 18 organizations in the latest round of sanctions in response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Russia said the sanctions will hinder any security cooperation between the two entities.
“The additional sanction list is direct evidence that the EU countries have set a course for fully scaling down cooperation with Russia over the issues of international and regional security,” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry. “[This] includes the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, organized crime and other new challenges and dangers.”
The EU sanctioned five men who officials claimed were instrumental to Russia’s violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty. The sanctions freeze all assets and place travel bans to the EU. The EU has sanctioned all of the ports in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in March. The sanctions prevent businesses with ties to the EU from using the ports, which could cause more financial strain to Crimea and Russia.
However, Russia’s profitable energy sector is once again missing on the sanctions list even though the United States hit Rosneft, its CEO Igor Sechin, and Gazprombank, which is the financial arm of gas giant Gazprom. However, the EU also “reached a preliminary deal to go even further in sanctioning Russia, targeting its access to European capital markets and trade in the defense sector, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies.” Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote this in The Telegraph:
It would be foolish for anybody to assume that little will come of these sanctions. Drastic action is now more likely than not, yet if it happens the implications are explosive. We are at a dangerous juncture.
The proposed sanctions will target both the debt and equity of Russia’s major banks, effectively severing access to global capital markets. It also targets the technology for drilling in the Arctic and for opening up the Bazhenov shale basin, both needed to replace Russia’s depleting oil reserves.
Unfortunately, the continuous fighting in east Ukraine did not allow any experts to visit MH17 on Sunday. Alexander Hug, the deputy head for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said none of his organization’s experts could visit because of the fighting. Kiev said troops are on the way to clear out the pro-Russian forces.
“All our troops are aiming to get there and liberate this territory so that we can guarantee that international experts can carry out a 100-percent investigation of the site and get all proof needed to deduce the real reason for this tragedy,” said Ukraine’s Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko. “Our military is advancing; fighting goes on every day, every night; they have already liberated two-thirds of the territory.”