BRUSSELS, March 21. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union has blacklisted another twelve Russian officials banning them from entering the EU territory. The EU also promised to freeze their bank accounts if they have them in European banks.
The Official Journal of the European Union reported on Friday that the EU sanctions list included Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin; presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, presidential aide Vladislav Surkov; Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko; State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin; Dmitry Kiselev, the director of the “International News Agency “Russia Today”; two deputy commanders of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Alexander Nosatov and Valery Kulikov; Mikhail Malyshev, chairman of the Crimean Central Electoral Commission; Valery Medvedev, chairman of Sevastopol’s election committee; Colonel General Igor Turchenok; State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina.
Restrictions on them come into force since the moment of being published, i.e. on March 21.
The European Union published its first list of 21 sanctioned Russian and Crimean officials on March 17. Europe’s “black list” included 8 Crimean leaders: Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, parliamentary Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, First Vice-Premier Rustam Temirgaliyev; Crimean Navy Commander Denis Berezovsky; Mayor of Sevastopol Alexei Chalyi; Security Service Chief Pyotr Zima; Yuri Zherebtsov, adviser to the speaker of the Crimean State Council (parliament); and Sergei Tsekov, the head of the Russian Community of Crimea.
The list also included 13 Russians: Viktor Zero, the head of the Russian Federation Council Defense Committee; Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs; Andrei Klishas, the head of the Federation Council Committee for Constitutional Legislation; Nikolai Ryzhkov, a representative of Russia’s Belgorod region at the Federation Council; Evgeny Bushmin, the vice-speaker of the Russian Federation Council; Alexander Totoonov, a member of the Federation Council Committee for Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy; Oleg Panteleyev, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Regulation and Organisation of Parliamentary Activity; Sergei Mironov, the leader of A Just Russia party faction at the Russian State Duma of the Russian Federal Assembly; State Duma Vice-Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak; Leonid Slutsky, the head of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs.
Vice-Admiral Alexander Vitko, the Russian Black Sea Fleet commander; Commander of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov and Commander of the Southern Military District Alexander Galkin were also blacklisted.
All in all, the European Union’s blacklist for Russia includes 33 officials whom the EU considers to be personally responsible for Russia’s actions against Ukraine.
Apart from creating its blacklist for Russia, the European Union has suspended talks on facilitation of visa regulations and transfer to a visa-free regime with Russia as well as the Russia-EU partnership agreement. Besides, Brussels has postponed the date for a regular Russia-EU summit slated for June 3.
However, the EU summit on Ukraine held in Brussels on Friday told the European Commission to work out possible economic penalties that would cause minimal damage to the EU economies.
European Commission President Herman Van Rompuy said after the summit on March 21 that those penalties could be imposed in case of “further escalation of Ukrainian crisis.” However, he refused to tell journalists what concrete actions by Russia could force the European Union to resort to economic sanctions.
Meanwhile, Russia’s permanent representative to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said on Friday that Russia had predicted the outcome of the EU summit on Ukraine but still did not see sufficient reasons for imposing restrictive measures against Russia which had not violated international law.
“The results of the EU summit were largely predictable given the intensity of rhetoric observed in recent days. But I would be more cautious in using the term ‘sanctions.’ International law allows imposing sanctions only with approval from the United Nations Security Council. All other penalties are nothing more than restrictive measures the legality of which is disputable at least,” Chizhov explained, adding that the reason for imposing such restrictions was unclear to him.
“After all, Russia has done nothing that violates international law,” Chizhov told Russian journalists.
In its final document, the European Council says that the Crimean referendum violates the Ukrainian Constitution.
"Any referendum held in a region that wants to separate from any state contradicts the laws of that state. But there is no formulation saying that such referendums run counter to international law. We believe and are deeply convinced that these decisions, I mean the referendum and the subsequent steps taken by the Russian side, are fitting quite well into the norms of international law. We are trying to explain that to our partners in the European Union,” Chizhov emphasized.