A NEW package of tough economic sanctions are to be imposed against Russia in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash, believed to have been caused by Moscow-backed rebels in Ukraine.
The European Union has agreed to a string of measures, which include an arms embargo and a ban on the sale of bonds and equities by state-owned Russian banks in European capital markets.
Members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and other officials will also be subject to asset bans and travel freezes under terms agreed by EU leaders. Meanwhile, the White House hinted that additional sanctions will be imposed by the US in the wake of the downing of flight MH17, which killed 298 people.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who met with the families of 10 British victims yesterday, said it should send a message to Mr Putin that his behaviour in Ukraine was unacceptable and Russia could expect “tough action” from the international community until it changes course.
The sanctions follow Russia’s failure to respond to calls to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, with arms and fighters continuing to flow across the border in support of the pro-Moscow separatist rebels.
“It is meant as a strong warning. Illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country cannot be accepted in 21st Century Europe,” said Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.