The EU and US are planning on new sanctions against Russia for their recent capture of 24 Ukrainian sailors on 25 November 2018, who have declared themselves prisoners of war.
Both Britain, the EU and the US are planning for these sanctions are set to be discussed on Monday and could be enforced over the next two months. A western government official said the sanctions are expected to be directed at companies and individuals involved in the sailors seizure in the Kerch strait, along with three Ukrainian naval vessels.
In December, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Kiev’s vice-premier for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, condemned the lack of action by European countries to sanction Russia for their capture of Ukrainian sailors. Klympush-Tsintsadze said “Unfortunately, we still see some shortsightedness in some of the European capitals. Not all of the political elites across Europe grasp the depth of this ambition of the Russian Federation.”
In the US two Senators, Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have introduced a bill to implement further sanctions on Russia by the US for its interference in the 2016 US elections and for the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The bill would include new financial penalties targeting Russia’s energy sectors, financial institutions and those helping the illegal activities surrounding Russian president Vladimir Putin. The bill would also require a two-thirds vote in Congress if Trump decided he wanted the US to leave NATO.
This bill comes in response to increasing fears by US politicians that Trump is doing little to check the rise of Putin in Europe and these Congress members hope that they will be able to stop attempts by Trump to give Putin more power in Europe.
One of the bills sponsors, Menendez, said “President Trump’s wilful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress. Putin’s actions cannot be tolerated, and the consequences of inaction are quickly compounding — further humanitarian disaster in Syria, regional instability, kidnapping of Ukrainian sailors and seizure of ships, and the steady erosion of international norms.” It is unclear if the bill will be able to pass the Senate, much less be signed into law by Trump, as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked a bill proposed by Democrats in January to sanction Russia.
In Russia, the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference “We are not discussing sanctions with anyone. We want to improve our economy, trade with normal foreign partners in such a way as not to depend on someone’s whims. We know that these sanctions are being adopted under the strongest pressure of the United States, which once again speaks of the non-independence of the European Union.”