EU to extend sanctions against pro-Russians in Ukraine – Bulgarian Foreign Minister

There is agreement for the European Union to extend the personal sanctions list against pro-Russian representatives in Ukraine and a decision is expected soon, according to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, who was attending an EU foreign ministers meeting on November 17.

In Brussels, where Ukraine is a main topic of the foreign ministers’ meeting, Mitov said that the EU should build a new policy on its relations with Russia and Bulgaria must be part of this process.

As quoted by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio, Mitov said that there was complete consensus that there should be more personal sanctions over the so-called “elections” in Donetsk and Luhansk.

He said that those affected would be pro-Russian representatives, organisers of the illegal elections and those who supported the results of these.

Mitov said that the EU’s current sanctions policy againt Russia was having an effect.

He named the state of the rouble and the state of the Russian economy following the withdrawal of investors and the inability of Russian banks to have access to credit and funds from Western markets.

Mitov said that the EU had to put throught into building a comprehensive strategy and a new policy on Russia. Bulgaria needed to participate actively in this, without, of course, excluding dialogue with the Russian side, he said.

“We must be aware that we belong to a particular world and this is the Western world. For years, decades, we have been struggling to be part of this world, we have adopted certainly values, our entire state is built on them, and at such times, we should be very clear about saying where we stand,” Mitov said.

Speaking on November 17 ahead of the EU foreign ministers meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters, “We will for sure discuss the sanctions, but not only the sanctions – because we all know very well that if we work only on that, but not on the other two tracks, even sanctions will not work. We need to work more on the reforms of Ukraine”.

Mogherini said that an agreement would be signed that would allow the EU to start a mission to assist the Ukrainian authorities on restructuring the civilian security of the country, and said that this agreement would take effect on December 1.

She said that there would be an “open discussion” about the “elections” on November 2 in eastern Ukraine.

“We will have an open discussion about that, but as I said, sanctions in themselves are not a target, are not an objective, they can be an instrument if they come together with other measures.

“And I think it is time that the European Union and the ministers concentrate also on the other issues that we have to build to have a complete strategy. And that means on one side asking the Ukrainians to commit again to reforms and to find ways to better to assist them on reforms, because the best way of getting ahead is making Ukraine a success and this has to be our focus mainly and also how to re-launch or how to engage in a dialogue with Russia as the European Union,” Mogherini said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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