The European Union will widen its ban on investment in Crimea to target Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration, EU officials said on Wednesday (17 Dec 2014), tightening sanctions first imposed over Moscow’s annexation of the region.
At a summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, EU leaders meeting in the European Council will announce the punitive measures that are also expected to be coordinated with similar steps by the United States, officials told Reuters.
The investment ban, the latest in a series of measures since July, is also designed to show that despite a dive in the Russian ruble’s value, there will be no lifting of sanctions unless Moscow drops its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
“This is being done in time for the European Council,” one EU official said following a political decision to go ahead with the Crimea measures late on Tuesday. “There are consequences for violating international law,” said a second official on condition of anonymity.
As reported on Dec 10, the sanctions will also ban EU citizens from buying or financing companies in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March, prompting the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.