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BRUSSELS, July 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The ambassadors of 28 countries of the European Union on Thursday will consider at a plenary meeting of the EU Committee at the level of permanent representatives the issue of the expansion of the “black list” for Russia and Ukraine and “a set of restrictive measures, prepared by the European Commission,” EC spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen reported.
“On Thursday, the EC proposals will be presented at a meeting of the Committee (of the EU at the level of permanent representatives),” she said.
The participants in the EU Council meeting at the level of foreign ministers on July 22 adopted a statement, in which again demanded from Russia to influence the Ukrainian people’s militia fighters to ensure access to the site of the Malaysian Boeing airliner crash and provide assistance to the international investigation. They also put forward the demand to ensure “concrete measures for a quick and efficient de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” including to “withdraw [Russia’s] troops from the border.” Otherwise, new sanctions will be imposed on Moscow, the ministers warned.
On Tuesday, the EU Council failed to adopt any specific measures against Russia, only arriving at the conclusion on the need to intensify the work to expand the “black list” that will be made public on Thursday. The EU agreed to accelerate the work on the expansion of the “black list” [for Russia and Ukraine] based on new criteria. It will be done shortly. The EU foreign political service will also present by Thursday proposals on the restriction of investment and defense contacts with Russia, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said, commenting on the meeting results.
According to Ashton, the EU was ready to gather for a third summit since the beginning of summer for the introduction of sanctions, if Russia fails to ensure the conditions for the investigation of the Boeing plane crash. A diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS previously that the heads of state and government of 28 countries of the European Union could gather before August 1 in Brussels to adopt a decision on the imposition of sanctions of “the third phase” (trade-economic measures against whole economy sectors) on Russia.
On July 16, the EU summit was held in the Belgian capital at which the community leaders already adopted the decision on a certain expansion of the sanctions, without applying restrictive trade-economic measures. The EU leaders instructed the EC to prepare by the end of the current month the expansion of the “black list” that would from now on include Russian and Ukrainian organizations and individuals that “materially or financially supported the actions, undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
The summit also adopted a decision to temporarily suspend the implementation in Russia of new projects through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European Investment Bank (EIB). In addition it was decided to revise all the financed from the EU budget programs of assistance to Russia, except projects “linked with cross-border co-operation or assistance to civil society.” In 2013, the financing of projects through EBRD accounted for some $2.5 billion and through EIB - for some $1.4 billion. The volume of all programs of assistance to Russia, financed from the EU budget for the period until 2020 is €447 million.
The summit instructed the EC and the EU foreign political service to submit proposals on blocking any kind of investment in the Crimean economy and urged “all the financial institutes to abstain from funding the projects that directly or indirectly recognize Crimea’s accession to Russia.