A new round of EU sanctions against Russia over its role in Ukraine came into effect today (12 September). These sanctions published in the EU’s Official Journal include restrictions on financing for several Russian state-owned corporations and also asset freezes and travel bans on prominent Russian politicians with ties to the country’s president Vladimir Putin.
This targeted group of leading Russian politicians include Igor Lebedev, deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an outspoken nationalist politician, Sergei Chemezov, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin from his KGB days in East Germany, and a number of leaders of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Mr Chmezov is chairman of Rostec, a leading defense and industrial group that is also involved in plan to build energy plants in Crimea. In total 24 after they’ve been added to
Thus, the existing list of people who are facing travel ban and asset freeze has been further expanded and it now totals 119 people and 23 companies. The European Commission is also due to recommend whether more sanctions should be adopted or the measures should be lifted at the end of September. The United States announced last night (11 September) that it would join the EU and strengthen sanctions on Russia in light of its illegal actions in Ukraine. In a separate but related development, the EU demanded that Moscow release immediately an Estonian security officer who was reportedly abducted on the border and taken into Russia last week. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced earlier that an Estonian officer had been detained on Russian territory and was being investigated as a suspected spy. Estonia and Latvia, both having large ethnic Russian minorities, have been alarmed after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in March that he had the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian speakers.