The European Union on Friday (11 July) expanded the Ukrainian sanction blacklist by adding additional 11 people who were slapped by an asset freeze and a travel ban. The 11 “newcomers” are reportedly linked to the issue of separatism and violence in Eastern Ukraine. The expansion thus increased the total number of those blacklisted to 72 including two companies based in Crimea whose EU bank accounts had been frozen earlier. The official statement commented that the Council had decided to expand the list of persons subject to targeted sanctions on the grounds of undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The decision came in the view of continuous deterioration of the situation in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
The new “blacklistees” include mostly high representatives of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (PRD) and People’s Republic of Luhansk (PRL) including so-called Prime Minister of PRD, Aleksandr Yurevich Borodai, Minister of Security of PRD, Aleksandr Khodakovsky, Deputy Prime Minister of Social Affairs of PRD, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich, Information and Mass Communication Minister of PRD, Aleksander Khryakov, as well as Prime Minister of PRL, Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers of PRL, Supreme Council Chair of PRL, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Defence Minister of PRL, that is Marat Bashirov, Vasyl Nikitin, Aleksey Karyakin, Yurij Ivakin, and Igor Plotnintsky respectively. The list includes also the commander of Cossack forces, Nikolay Kozitsyn, and the leader of armed groups, Oleksiy Mozgovy.
Allegedly, the 28 member states were initially not able to agree on the final version of this amendment to the blacklist as some members – mainly Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden – were in favour or targeting senior and high-profile officials – whereas other countries questioned whether it was indeed a proper response. At the end of June, EU leadership urged Russia to change its course in the Ukrainian crisis or face more severe sanctions. So far, Brussels has not dared to introduce outright sanctions on economic sectors despite strong encouragement of Washington.