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EU postpones extention of blacklist for Russia to avoid ill-considered moves — diplomat

The declared formal reason for this decision is that "not all the countries have finalized the necessary internal procedures"

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. The European Union has postponed a decision to extend its blacklist targeting Russia, as its countries don’t want to take ill-considered moves, Russia’s EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov told Rossiya 24 television on Monday.

"I think the main reason for their not doing it today is that back at the previous stage half-a-year ago, some EU countries warned the others and the EU leadership that the issue is rather serious and the timing is rather sensitive for passing decisions automatically, instead of discussing this situation each time," the ambassador said. "The declared formal reason is that not all the countries have finalized the necessary internal procedures," Chizhov added.

He explained that the formal decision on extending the EU blacklist for Russia must be passed at the level of the Council of the European Union before March 15, the date when this package of sanctions expires. "In order to extend sanctions, they need a session of the Council of the EU, a ministerial level. It should not be necessarily the foreign ministers, but ministers of transport or agriculture can take part," he said.

A total of 150 individuals and 38 organizations are on the EU blacklist for Russia.

Package of sanctions

The European Union imposed several sanctions packages against Moscow: economic sanctions, individual restrictions and Crimea-related sanctions.

Sectoral sanctions were initially levied on July 31, 2014, and covered financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as dual-use goods. Economic sanctions include restricted access to EU’s primary and secondary capital markets for five Russian financial institutions and their subsidiaries founded outside the European Union, in which the state holds a majority stake, as well as for three biggest Russian energy companies and three defense firms.

They also include embargoed weapons trade and ban on exports of dual-use goods for military purposes to Russia, as well as restricted access to certain strategic technologies and services that may be used for oil exploration and production, for Russia.

There are also two independent sanctions packages, related to Ukraine. First, those are individual restrictions, meaning bans on trips and frozen banking assets in Europe (if such exist or have been revealed) for 150 persons and 38 organizations. Finally, there is a package of targeted sanctions against Crimea, which European businesses are banned to hold any ties with.