BRUSSELS, April 16. /TASS/. EU foreign ministers will not approve sanctions against Russia during a video conference on April 19, the EU does not plan any new restrictions so far, a high-ranking official with the EU External Action Service said during a briefing in the run-up to the meeting that will be dedicated to the situation in Ukraine.
"The US administration informed us in advance of upcoming sanctions against Russia, we consulted on it, there is a positive difference compared to the previous US administration," he said.
"The introduction of sanctions is held in three stages in the EU: first, the countries or High Representative Borrell put in a sanctions proposal, then these proposals are considered in working groups, and then EU states approve them. I can say with confidence that the approval of new sanctions is not on the agenda (of the April 19 ministerial meeting - TASS). I can also say that there are no preparatory efforts in the working groups [of the EU Council] on new sanctions currently," the diplomat said.
The official added that he is not aware whether separate EU states are working on anti-Russian sanction packages.
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia. In particular, the US government is prohibiting American companies from acquiring Russian debt obligations issued by the Bank of Russia, the Russian National Wealth Fund or the Russian Ministry of Finance after June 14, 2021. Besides, the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on 16 organizations and 16 individuals allegedly involved in interfering with America’s elections. In addition, Washington introduced restrictions against eight individuals and legal entities tied to Crimea, including members of the Crimean government.
The United States is also expelling 10 diplomats working at the Russian Embassy in Washington DC. According to the US administration, they "include representatives of Russian intelligence services."
The EU supported the sanctions in an official statement, however, it did not promise to follow the same policy. The EU External Action Service refused to comment on the possibility of introducing new sanctions against Russia in response to a TASS request, stressing that Brussels does not comment on the restrictive measures before their approval.
Meanwhile, a number of diplomatic sources and experts quizzed by the agency noted that in the current conditions, the EU is unlikely to introduce any economic measures against Russia. A European diplomat informed that separate EU states plan to blacklist several Russian citizens within the existing EU sanctions mechanism in response to cyber attacks.