Fifteen high-ranking Russians and Ukrainians have been targeted in the third round of sanctions against Russia by the European Union against Russia.
The senior-most of those whose names were announced on April 29 by the EU is General Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, who was “responsible for the massive deployment of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and lack of de-escalation of the situation,” says the text of the EU decision published in the EU Official Journal.
Another senior Russian official to be targeted is Dmitry Nokolayevich Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, who has been held responsible for “overseeing the integration of the annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation.
Six out of the 15 officials have been targeted for the role they have played in the recent political event in Crimea. Heading this group is Oleg Yevgenyvich Belaventsev, the Russian President’s representative in Crimea, who has been blacklisted for being “responsible for the implementation of the constitutional prerogatives of the Russian Head of State on the territory of the annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”
Lieutenant-General Igor Dmitrievich Sergun is the Director, GRU, the Russian Intelligence Directorate, and has been accused of being “responsible for the activity of GRU officers in Eastern Ukraine.”
Select Ukrainians who have provided leadership to the pro-Russia campaign in eastern Ukraine have sanctions slapped on them. For example, German Prokopiv, described as an “active leader of the ‘Lugansk Guard’ faces sanctions for his participation “in the seizure of the building of the Lugansk regional office of the Security Service, and recorded a video address to President Putin and Russia from the occupied building.”
Andriy Purgin and Denys Pushylin have been listed for their activities in the ‘Donetsk Republic’ a separatist group in Donestk, and Tsyplakov Sergey Gennadevich for his being an active member of the People’s Militia of Donbas.
Meanwhile, the EU has allocated an additional package of Euro 365 million to Ukraine.
An Ipsos poll conducted on April 29 showed that although 55 per cent of citizens in 11 countries of the EU believe that their leaders should do everything possible to support stability in Ukraine, the support for specific action, especially military action is much weaker, at 25 per cent.
The EU has been a reluctant supporter of hard economic sanctions against Russia, given the close economic ties several of the more powerful EU countries, like Germany, have with Russian business. Nowhere is this more evident than the energy sector, which if hit by economic sanctions could imperil Europe’s energy security. Paolo Scaroni, the outgoing head of the Italian oil and gas company Eni that is a conduit for gas sourced from the Russian gas provider Gazprom, said as much when he recently told the New York Times “This is by far the toughest time for European energy security.”
“The EU cannot have its cake and eat it, too,” he said. “I just tell them that you cannot keep on shouting and being inconsistent between what you say and what you do.”