The European Union on Tuesday agreed on wide-ranging economic sanctions, the so-called phase three measures, against Russia for its actions in destabilising Ukraine.
"The package of new restrictive measures agreed today by the European Union constitutes a powerful signal to the leaders of the Russian Federation: destabilising Ukraine, or any other Eastern European neighbouring State, will bring heavy costs to its economy," said the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso in a joint statement here tonight.
"Illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country cannot be accepted in 21st century Europe.
Furthermore, when the violence created spirals out of control and leads to the killing of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response," they said. The new sanctions package will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector, noted the statement.
"Russia will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions," they added.
Meanwhile, a senior EU official explained the details of the sanctions to journalists here tonight.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the sanctions will be formally adopted on Thursday and enter into force on Friday. The EU sanctions will only apply to the EU territory and not to third countries.
Exports of certain energy-related equipment and technology to Russia will be subject to prior authorisation by competent authorities of EU member states. Export licences will be denied if products are destined for deep water oil exploration and production, arctic oil exploration or production and shale oil projects in Russia.
In order to restrict Russia's access to EU capital markets, EU nationals and companies man no more buy or sell new bonds, equity or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 90 days , issued by state-owned Russian banks.
The new EU measures include a ban in new investments in the following sectors in Crimea and Sevastopol: transport, telecommunications and energy and in relations to the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals.
Goods origination in Crimea or Sevastopol may not be imported into the EU unless they have Ukrainian certificates.
Furthermore, EU ambassadors also agreed to add eight persons and three entities, including the so-called "cronies" of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the list of those subject to an asset freeze and a visa ban.
This brings the number of Ukrainian and Russian persons and entities subject to EU sanctions to 95 persons and 23 entities.
The sanctions will apply for 12 months and will be reviewed periodically, noted the EU official.