Sunday 17 December 2017

EU leaders agree further sanctions on Russia

Van Rompuy and Barroso arrive for post Ukraine summit discussion press conference
Van Rompuy and Barroso arrive for post Ukraine summit discussion press conference
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

EU leaders have agreed to extend its sanctions against Russia in the ongoing crisis over Ukraine.

In the wake of the annexation of Crimea, the EU is also threatening further action with member states also agreeing to prepare "possible targeted measures".

EU leaders also warned any further steps by Russia to destabilise the situation in Ukraine "will lead to additional and far reaching consequences".

The annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia has dominated an EU summit in Brussels.

The summit finished up just before midnight.

European Unions leaders are planning to hit more people with a travel ban and asset freeze, closing in on Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle to punish him in the escalating crisis over the annexation of the Crimea peninsula.

Another 12 people have now been added to the list of 21 people.

EU leaders said the 12 new names included "some of them of really high rank".

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the annexation of Crimea was a "clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and international law".

He said the EU has not and would not recognise the move by Russia.

The EU also announced plans to scrap a scheduled summit with Russia in June as part of the intensifying standoff over Ukraine, which has turned into one of the biggest political crises in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny dismissed suggestions Ireland will be hurt economically by increasing EU sanctions on Russia in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

The Russian Ambassador to Ireland this week warned the Government that Ireland will suffer serious economic consequences if it supports further European Union sanctions against the superpower.

Mr Kenny said the Government is backing further sanctions and did not accept it would be hurtful to Ireland economically

"We favour and support the question of sanctions against individuals. The questions of further sanctions is one for the Council to debate and decide now.

"Some of these matters have already been referred to in public," he said.

Mr Kenny said the question of moving towards further sanctions will also be considered.

The latest figures show Ireland exports €600m worth of goods to Russia and imports €100m.

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