Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the European Union has been calling on the Russian leadership to work towards a peaceful resolution.
The package of new restrictive measures agreed today (29 July 2014) by the European Union constitutes a powerful signal to the leaders of the Russian Federation: “destabilising Ukraine, or any other Eastern European neighbouring State, will bring heavy costs to its economy”
On 22 July, the Foreign Affairs Concil requested the Commission and the EEAS to finalise their preparatory work on possible targeted measures. The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was also in focus when the EU foreign minsters gathered in Brussels on 22 July. The minsters bean the meeting with a minute of silence to pay tribute to those who died.
The EU package responds to directions given by the European Council of 16 July. Its meant as a strong warning: illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country cannot be accepted in 21st century Europe.
On 25 July, having been mandated to prepare the package of restrictive measures in the light of Russia´s role in destabilising and escalating the situation in Ukraine, President Barroso made the following statement:
“these measures are not an end in themselves, but a means to achieve a negotiated and political solution to the crisis – which remains the EU´s firm priority. I call on Russia to take decisive steps to stop the violence and genuinely engage in peace plan discussions”
The European Union remains ready to reverse its decisions and reengage with Russia when it starts contributing actively and without ambiguities to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian Federation and the European Union have important common interests to ensure stability in its own region.