European Union foreign ministers will on Tuesday adopt sanctions against Russia for its recognition of Ukraine’s breakaway regions and a new deployment of troops to its neighbor’s territory, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.
“Our response will take the form of sanctions, the extent of which ministers will decide… I’m sure there will be a unanimous decision” required for the measures, Josep Borrell told reporters in Paris.
He added that the text of possible measures was being prepared in the morning as ministers attended a forum with Asia-Pacific nations in the French capital.
The decision itself would come “this afternoon” at an emergency meeting he called on the sidelines of the Paris forum, Borrell said.
He would not be drawn to the details of the sanctions, which are expected to fall on the same day as punitive measures from the United States and Britain.
Other consequences for Russia “should not be symbolic”, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Arnoldas Pranckevicius said in Brussels.
Ireland’s Minister for Europe, Thomas Byrne, said: “We have to make sure that whatever happens, Russia certainly feels the pain…it will happen.”
Also in the EU capital, France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune said agreeing to sanctions “was a matter of firmness and credibility” for the bloc.
The measures would include targeted sanctions against Russian individuals and companies, including asset freezes and travel bans, as well as possible financial measures against Russian banks, European sources told AFP.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that Berlin would shut down the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, named by the allies as a crack in Europe’s united front.
Washington had already banned Americans from all financial transactions with the separatist territories in eastern Ukraine, whose independence was recognized Monday evening by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Shortly after the announcement, Putin ordered the dispatch of troops to the two regions as part of a “peacekeeping” operation.
“Russian troops have entered Donbass, we consider Donbass to be part of Ukraine,” Borrell said on Tuesday.
But the EU joined the United States in delaying the description of the deployment as an invasion that would trigger the toughest sanctions threatened by the West in recent months.
“I wouldn’t call it a full-fledged invasion, but Russian troops are on Ukrainian soil,” Borrell said.