EU prepares new sanctions on Russia after Kerch Strait incident

The EU is considering imposing additional sanctions on Russia due to a recent incident in the Black Sea in which Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian military boats, injuring three sailors, as announced on Tuesday by Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, following talks with her German colleague Heiko Maas.

“We’ll see about the issue of further sanctions. Everything depends on this examination of the facts,” said Kneissl, as cited by Bloomberg.

Kneissl noted that the matter will be discussed by the foreign ministers of the EU in their upcoming meeting.

A representative of the German government confirmed that new sanctions on Russia would be considered but emphasized that the final decision has not yet been made, and will depend on an examination of the facts and the identification of the guilty party.

The EU still blames Russia for the incident. Moscow had no right to block the Ukrainian ships from passing through the Kerch Strait, said European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijančič.

“The construction of the Kerch Bridge without Ukraine’s approval is yet another example of an infringement of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,”  Kocijančič emphasized, adding that the “EU has not recognized and will never recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia”.

Additional sanctions against the Kremlin were also advocated by Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee and member of Angela Merkel’s CDU party.

He emphasized that Russia’s behavior “must have consequences”, adding that he does not consider a tightening of the sanction regime impossible.

On Monday, the US, EU and Kyiv all urged Russia to release the detained sailors and to return the three military ships which have been towed to the Port of Kerch.

  Ukraine, Russia, EU, Kerch Strait, Crimea, Black Sea