EU sets sanctions against Russia

The European Union today proposed new sanctions against Russia, despite the shaky cease-fire that was agreed upon between Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine.

The European Commission today announced a new package of sanctions which will be implemented today, Volkskrant reports. The Member States will agree in writing today or tomorrow.

The new sanctions are directed in particular against Russian companies such as Rosneft and Gazprom, for whom it will become more difficult to withdraw capital from the European Union. The natural gas branch of Gazprom, the major energy contributor of the Union, will be spared. Additionally a few dozen people have been blacklisted. They will not be allowed to travel to the EU and their funds have been frozen.

The EU criticizes Russia's interference in the Ukrainian conflict. According to Europe, Putin's government delivers weapons and troops to the rebels.

Russia already has a package of countermeasures. Premier Medvedev threatened today to put a no fly zone over Russia. Medvedev says that if Western companies are forced to shun Russian airspace, it could lead to the bankruptcy of many airlines, which are already struggling to survive. Medvedev stressed that Russia does not applaud this development, but sanctions against Russia have not lead to peace in the Ukraine.

Medvedev accuses the West of undermining international security with punitive measures. The economic sanctions against Russia have political consequences that are worse than any export action, he says. He continues that those who set punitive measures should clearly realize that this ultimately leads to trouble.