EU to discuss sanctions against Russia over Azov Sea in Feb. - media

EU to discuss sanctions against Russia over Azov Sea in Feb. - media

Foreign ministers of the EU member states will discuss in February the introduction of new sanctions against Russia over its aggressive actions against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov.

Reuters reported this with reference to sources in European diplomatic circles.

"European Union foreign ministers will discuss in February imposing more sanctions against Russia over a stand-off with Ukraine in the Azov Sea, diplomats said," the report says.

The EU will also issue a demarche — a formal diplomatic protest note — to Moscow as early as next week over Russia’s continued detention of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured during the incident in November, they added.

EU members that have long taken a hard line on Russia, including Lithuania, Sweden, Britain and Poland, are now backed in proposing more sanctions by countries like Denmark and Slovakia. They argue that pressure from France and Germany on Moscow to free the servicemen has not borne fruit.

In December, the two opposed new sanctions, asking for more time to negotiate the release of the Ukrainian sailors and their three ships, captured in the Kerch Strait.

With a Moscow court having extended the sailors’ arrest until April, Germany and France would now be more likely to back more restrictive measures, diplomats said.

“We have to apply additional sanctions,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Reuters this week.

“Some (in the EU) say we should give dialogue with Russia a chance in the Normandy format, but I say that is not productive,” he said, referring to four-way talks between Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.

EU foreign ministers will meet in Romania next week and are due to discuss that at their next session in Brussels on Feb. 18, though any final decision could come later.

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