EU Slaps New Sanctions on Crimea Targeting Energy, TourismEU | December 18, 2014, Thursday // 18:48| views
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrives for the European Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the European Union at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, 18 December 2014. Photo EPA/BGNES
The European Union on Thursday announced additional economic sanctions against Crimea-based companies over what the bloc calls illegal annexation of the region by Russia.
The new restrictions, announced ahead of an European Council summit in Brussels later on Thursday, ban all EU investment in the Black Sea peninsula and European cruise ships from calling at its ports as further strengthening of the bloc’s policy of non-recognition of Russia's annexation of the region from Ukraine in March.
Moscow dismisses Western charges of annexation, saying Crimea has voted to reunite with the Russian Federation in a referendum in March.
Some of the new curbs target sales of exploration equipment to Crimea, seeking to prevent Russia from using the peninsula to exploit Black Sea oil and gas deposits.
“These measures add to an import ban on goods from Crimea and Sevastopol, imposed in June, as well as restrictions introduced in July on trade and investment related to certain economic sectors and infrastructure projects,” the EU said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry in Moscow condemned the new curbs that will take effect on Saturday as ‘absolutely unacceptable’.
“Brussels should realize that Crimea and Sevastopol are an integral part of the Russian Federation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We would like to remind the EU of our legitimate right to properly react to its so-called restrictive measures regarding all Russian citizens and legal entities without exception.”
The new sanctions ban European companies from investing in Crimea as well as buying real estate, building infrastructure and rendering tourism services on the peninsula.
European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders will discuss EU strategy toward Russia and the crisis in Ukraine on Thursday evening.