BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels in December are expected to extend for another year the bloc’s main economic sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
The bloc is debating whether to add more sanctions over the latest flare-up of tensions between the two on the Azov Sea.
Below is a list of measures already in place.
The bloc first imposed sanctions after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Kiev in March, 2014, and ratcheted them up as Moscow went on to back rebels fighting against government troops in east Ukraine.
- The bloc’s main, economic sanctions against Russia cover the financial, energy and defense sectors. They are in place until the end of January, 2019, and EU leaders are expected to agree next month to extend them for another year.
- They limit access to the EU’s capital markets for Russian state-owned financial institutions, introduce an arms embargo and an export ban for dual-use goods for military purposes.
- EU nationals and companies cannot buy financial instruments with maturity above 30 days from five major Russian state-owned banks, three Russian energy companies and three defense companies. Providing loans to these is also barred.
- The measures curb Russia’s access to oil production and exploration technologies, barring exports of products related to hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling on the Arctic shelf.
- The European Investment Bank is no longer financing new projects in Russia. Italy, which has long pushed to soften the EU’s sanctions regime on Russia, has proposed that the EIB return to providing money to small Russian firms.
- The EU stresses the annexation of Crimea was illegal and refuses to recognize it. It has hence introduced tight restrictions on doing business with the peninsula.
- They include a ban on importing goods from Crimea and a prohibition to invest there or provide tourism services. EU citizens and companies cannot buy real estate or entities in Crimea, or finance firms there.
- The EU has barred export to Crimea of goods and technology for the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or for the exploration for oil, gas and mineral resources. Providing related services is also forbidden.
- Although sanctions were introduced with the unanimous backing of all 28 member states, the bloc has still at times had problems enforcing them, as was seen when gas turbines by Germany’s Siemens were delivered to Crimea.
- These punitive measures are currently in place until late June, 2019.
- The EU has a travel ban and an asset freeze in place, which currently covers 155 people and 44 entities for “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
- The latest additions include six construction and design companies involved in the construction of the Kerch bridge - the only direct link between Russia and the annexed Crimea.
The 19-kilometre bridge was a top political project for Russian President Vladimir Putin and was built by his close allies for 3.6 billion dollars.
Last weekend’s standoff between Russian and Ukrainian navy vessels developed around the bridge, which straddles the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea to the smaller Azov Sea. The strait is the only outlet for Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea.
- Among the names of people barred from traveling to the EU over Ukraine are pro-Russian leaders and separatist fighters from Crimea and east Ukraine, Russian lawmakers and senior military brass, as well as top Putin aides.
The latter group includes Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s national Security Council, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), and Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s personal friend whose Stroygazmontazh built the Kerch bridge.
- The blacklist is now in place until mid-March, 2019, and is regularly being updated with new entries. Some entries are also removed as, for example, some blacklisted rebels in east Ukraine have been killed.
Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Peter Graff