The EU Official Journal mentioned that “The European Union’s decision to extend sanctions against Russia by another six months, to January 31, 2017, is coming into force”. So, what does this mean?
The Russian news agency “TASS” mentioned that “This announcement is purely technical as the political decision to extend the sanctions was made on June 21”, adding that “In autumn, the European Union plans to have a deep discussion about its relations with Russia and about further plans related to the sanctions”.
Three packets of sanctions
There are three independent packets of sanctions against Russia.
- The first one is the blacklist against Russian and Ukrainian nationals, whom the EU considers involved in reunification of Crimea and Russia and thus violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory integrity.
They all are not allowed to enter the European Union, and their financial assets in Europe should be frozen.
Besides, the blacklist has names of companies, with which European counterparts and businesses are not allowed to support any kinds of relations. Those are mostly authorities and law enforcement bodies of the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk Republics. The blacklists are in force to September 10 of the current year.
- The second packet lists economic sectoral sanctions, which are extended from July 2 to January 31, 2017. These sanctions include bans for investments and trade of technologies with 15 companies in the financial, oil and defense spheres.
- And the third packet is made of numerous bans related to Crimea, its citizens and local companies. As for Crimea, the EU bans completely any trade, though fails to explain what Crimea had traded to the European countries before the ban. The EU also blocked issue of Schengen visas to Crimean people having Russian passports. This packet is valid through to June 23, 2017.
Unlike the first two packets – the blacklists and the sectoral economic sanctions – the limitations against Crimea are not related to implementation of the Minsk agreements are a part of so-called strategies not to recognize Crimea, and those sanctions are being extended practically automatically. They are most likely to remain longer than others.
Russian Foreign Ministry: Sanctions by EU… a short-sighted policy
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier the prolongation of anti-Russian sanctions by the European Union is a short-sighted policy and it will not bring about any changes in Russia’s foreign policy.
“The latest prolongation of the EU’s sectoral economic sanctions, not legitimate from the standpoint of international law, till January 31, 2017 is regarded as an extension of Brussels’s short-sighted policy,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“We believe it is absurd to link these discriminatory measures against Russia, which is not a party to the intra-Ukrainian conflict, with its compliance with the Minsk Accords, particularly so, in the current situation, where we see Kiev is unprepared to comply with its own commitments. As a matter of fact, the European Union has made Russia-EU relations a hostage of irresponsible gambling by the Ukrainian authorities.”
“It is at least short-sighted to expect the sanctions will bring about a change in our foreign policy,” the Foreign Ministry said.
In July 2014, the European Union and the US imposed sanctions against Russia over developments in Ukraine and have repeatedly extended and expanded them. The EU suspended talks on the visa-free regime and a new basic cooperation agreement. Overall, the EU blacklisted 151 individuals and 37 entities.
Extension of EU anti-Russian sanctions comes into force… so what does this mean?
The European Union’s sanctions on Russia are not seen in the same way for Russia, as they are seen by the EU, for the following reasons:
- Russia is affected by the sanctions of course, but the Russian President Vladimir Putin will not retract his stand in any topic, just for the sake of the sanctions, especially after all the results he achieved and is still achieving in Syria.
- Russia sees that the NATO is also violating the sovereignty of countries by spreading its troops in the black sea. Russia’s answer comes as a response on sayings that it is violating Crimea’s sovereignty, which Russia says it belongs to its territories.
- Russia would be better economically without the EU sanctions, but at the same time, many EU countries are experiencing what we could call “Russian Economic Sanctions”, especially that Russia has huge investments in Europe. The German investors are probably one of the most affected economically, due to the EU sanctions on Russia.
- Russia has many markets around the world, other that the EU markets, such as Latin America.
- Europe is not being fought economically only by Russia, but on the military level as wll. If we were to go a little backwards in time, and specifically to the year 2013, we will find that there were announcements of European fears over Russian missiles.Back then, Russian defense ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said that “Iskander operational-tactical missile systems have indeed been commissioned by the Western Military District’s missile and artillery forces,” adding that Russia’s deployment “does not violate any international treaties or agreements”.
The Western Military District includes parts of western and north-western Russia, including the Kaliningrad exclave, which is separated from Russia proper and wedged between Poland, Lithuania, and the Baltic Sea.
Lithuania’s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said: “I am worried about signals that Russia is about to modernise missile systems it has deployed in Kaliningrad. “Further militarisation of this region, bordering the Baltic states and Nato, creates further anxiety, and we will be watching the situation there closely.”
Back then, the Polish foreign ministry said: “Plans to deploy new Iskander-M rockets in Kaliningrad are worrying.”