EU foreign ministers wish to expand Russia blacklist

The text, circulated by the EU foreign service (EEAS) to capitals on Wednesday, says: “In view of the worsening situation, the [EU] Council agrees to extend the restrictive measures targeting persons and entities for threatening or undermining Ukraine‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“It calls on the EEAS and the [European] Commission to present a proposal for decision within a week on additional listings”.

It also calls on them to undertake “further preparatory work … on further restrictive measures” in a threat of new economic sanctions.

The ministers plan to blame Russia for the rocket attack on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol last weekend, which killed 30 people – an accusation Russia denies.

“The Council strongly condemns the indiscriminate shelling of the residential areas in Mariupol … The Council notes evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia’s responsibility”, the draft text notes.

It says any softening of the EU position depends on Russian compliance with the Minsk protocol – a September 2014 peace accord.

It notes that compliance requires “withdrawal of illegal and foreign armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, securing the Ukrainian-Russian border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE, as well as early local elections in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”.

The draft also mentions aggressive propaganda campaign pursued by Russia.

“Public statements distorting the reality on the ground, inciting to hatred and further violence, as well as publicly humiliating prisoners in violation of the international law will not lead to the badly needed de-escalation”, the document reads.

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