Berlin: The US and the European Union have reached a consensus on slapping tougher sanctions on Russia, including economic and financial penalties for Kremlin’s continued support to the pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine.
The decision came ahead of a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels today to finalise the details of the plan.
US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, agreed on “further action” against Russia in a conference call yesterday, a government spokesman said.
New sanctions contemplated by the EU include restricting the access of Russian banks to the European financial markets and a ban on the export of military goods, high technology in the energy sector and dual-use goods, which can be used for civilian and military purposes.
The leaders were unanimous in their view that Russia had failed to take the necessary steps to de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
It was agreed that strong measures against Russia are necessary in view of its continued supply of arms and equipment to the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and infiltration of fighters into the conflict zone, the spokesman said in a statement.
These developments continued even after the apparent shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in the rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, the leaders said.
According to the statement, the leaders said that expanding the sanctions regime should mount pressure on Russia so that it will not destabilise Ukraine further and will be encouraged to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Last week, the EU had expanded its existing sanctions on Russia by adding 15 high-ranking Russian government officials and 18 entities to the list of those whose assets were frozen and subjected to travel bans for supporting the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The US and EU leaders called for unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site for international investigators to recover the bodies of the victims still lying there and to carry out an investigation to establish the cause of the disaster in which all 298 persons on board were killed.