EU Alarmed by the Possibility of Civil War in Ukraine

Written by | Monday, April 21st, 2014

European foreign ministers met last week amidst Moscow’s threats of the possibility of a civil war in Ukraine. Russia said that it was the responsibility of the West to prevent such a scenario in Ukraine while NATO described the latest developments in Eastern Ukraine as “a concerted campaign of violence by pro-Russian separatists aiming to destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign state”. Earlier, during the weekend, Russian armed forces wearing identical uniforms without insignia began to occupy government buildings in the city of Slaviansk in Eastern Ukraine.
The United States has already outlined further sanctions against Russia unless pro-Russian troops stop military actions on the territory of Ukraine. It is not clear though whether the US-proposed new punitive measures will acquire the back-up of the European Union. European foreign ministers seemed to have largely failed to make up their mind what the next approach of the EU28 would be.
The upcoming sanctions would be already the fourth set of sanctions imposed on Moscow since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis. They are expected to target Russians very close to President Putin himself as well as Russian entities. Yet, the new sanctions should not focus on Russia’s business sectors such as energy, mining, or banking. Broad sectoral sanctions are allegedly not up for a swift action unlike actions against Russian individuals and entities. Even if the US decided to unleash sectoral punishments, it is not very likely that Brussels would condone to such measures. Europe is still not ready to impose penalties that would impair Russia’s economy and mainly its energy sector.

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