New sanctions against Russia have been detailed: this time the EU targeted top intelligence chiefs for allegedly fueling separatism in east Ukraine. Moscow responded the union is working towards a total break off in international security cooperation.
Russian intelligence director Mikhail Fradkov, FSB director Aleksandr Bortnikov, security council chief Nikolay Patrushev have all made the list. The one person that doesn’t fit the mold here is Chechen President Ramzan Kadirov, who also made the cut.
Bortnikov and Fradkov, both members of the Russian Security Council, are included for being "involved in shaping the policy of the Russian government threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," the EU’s Official Journal said.
Regarding the Chechen president, Kadyrov "made statements in support of the illegal annexation of Crimea and in support of the armed insurgency in Ukraine," it further reads adding the Chechen leader also offered to send in 74,000 volunteers to fight alongside the pro-independence uprising in Ukraine’s east.
A freezing of assets and a denial of European visas have been included in the measures targeted at the new list, which includes 15 people and 18 entities, according to the Official Journal. The extended sanctions list now includes 87 people and 20 companies.
Several entities operating in Crimea have also been included on the list, which is scheduled for release on Tuesday. Figures close to Vladimir Putin could in theory be added, some diplomatic sources said, according to AFP.
Moscow’s reaction to this centers on the view that widening sanctions of this sort can only lead to a deeper rift and pose a very real threat to any remaining security cooperation at the international level.
“An extended sanctions list by the EU is testament to a strategy for completely severing all cooperation with the Russian Federation in the area of international security,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. This implies “regional and international security work, in addition to efforts at curbing the threat of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism, as well as organized crime,” the ministry said.
So far, the union has been reluctant to impose the type of debilitating sanctions normally reserved for rogue regimes, but experts believe that the Western insistence on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 downing as having been carried out by Eastern Ukraine's militia can only lead to tougher measures in future, although such haven’t been imposed yet.
On Friday the European Council Herman Van Rompey hinted that even if economic sanctions against Russia will be imposed, gas will be spared “in view of the need to preserve EU energy security.” The legal text for the new industry-related sanctions is expected to be worked out by the European Commission by July 29.