The European Union has followed the U.S. in imposing a new round of sanctions on Russia for the Kremlin’s intervention in Crimea and alleged support of separatist elements inside eastern Ukraine.
The sanctions, which specifically target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “inner circle,” drew a response from Moscow, which described them in Cold War terms.
According to The Guardian, the EU has named 15 people for sanctions, including Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who has been charged with developing Crimea. Kozak was also named on Monday by the U.S.
Several leaders of the pro-Russian militia and protesters who have been occupying buildings in eastern Ukraine have also been named, according to the Guardian. They will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
The Washington Post says:
“The European Union has been more reluctant than the United States to target Russian businesses, in part because E.U. companies have far stronger economic relations with Russia than their U.S. counterparts. U.S. officials have indicated that they were ready to issue new sanctions last week but decided to wait for the European Union in order to project a unified front against what they say is Russia’s escalating campaign to destabilize Ukraine.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the U.S. and EU have revived the legacy of the Cold War.
“This is a revival of a system created in 1949 when Western countries essentially lowered an ‘Iron Curtain,’ cutting off supplies of hi-tech goods to the USSR and other countries,” he said.
NPR’s Corey Flintoff, reporting from Moscow, says Russian officials maintain that most of the sanctions will not seriously affect their economy.
However, Ryabkov says Russia’s space program “could be hurt by a ban on sales of certain high-technology items that are made in the West,” Corey says.
Meanwhile, The Guardian also reports that Gennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv who was shot in the back by an unknown gunman on Monday, has been flown to Israel for treatment, where he is “fighting for his life.”
Reuters reports that “hundreds of pro-Russian separatists stormed the regional government headquarters” in the eastern Ukraine city of Luhansk.
The news agency says:
“The government in Kiev has all but lost control of its police forces in parts of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian activists have seized buildings in the region’s second biggest city of Donetsk and several smaller towns.”
“‘The regional leadership does not control its police force,’ said Stanislav Rechynsky, an aide to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. ‘The local police did nothing.'”