According to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the new planned EU sanctions against Russia will stop Russian banks from accessing the European financial markets. In addition, Russian assets in the EU are to be frozen and important sectors of the Russian economy are to be denied access to key technologies and markets.
A bundle of "massive and targeted sanctions" will be presented to European leaders for approval, von der Leyen said. In the evening, an EU crisis summit is to discuss the sanctions package. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke of the toughest sanctions package that the EU had ever considered.
"Hold Putin to Account"
Russian President Vladimir Putin is bringing war back to Europe with the "barbaric attack," von der Leyen said in Brussels this morning. The EU stands by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Russia's goal is not only the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, nor Ukraine. "The goal is stability in Europe and the entire international peace order. And we will hold President Putin accountable for this."
The sanctions are designed to target the interests of the Kremlin and its ability to fund a war, von der Leyen said. They would be closely coordinated with the US and partners like Australia and Japan.
First sanctions before attack
The EU had already decided on a first package of economic and financial sanctions after recognizing the independence of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and sending Russian soldiers.
The foreign ministers of the EU countries reached a political agreement on this on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, the punitive measures were then formally decided by the 27 EU countries.
Long list of sanctioned individuals and organizations
This first package of EU sanctions envisages adding to the EU sanctions list the 351 members of the Russian parliament who initiated the recognition of the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. In addition, there are 27 individuals and organizations who contribute to undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Those affected include Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Economics Minister Maxim Reshetnikov and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, according to the Official Journal of the European Union published during the night.
A so-called Internet research agency based in St. Petersburg, which is known as a Kremlin-related troll factory and spreads disinformation, is also mentioned. Likewise, high-ranking military and businessmen are part of the list.
Any person or entity placed on the EU sanctions list will have their assets in the EU frozen. In addition, listed persons are no longer allowed to enter the EU and no more business can be done with those affected.
The EU initially imposed no EU sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision was made because there was a need to have further measures in reserve, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. According to the EU, punitive measures are now in place against 555 people and 52 organizations for violating Ukraine's territorial integrity.