Ukrainian President: EU to introduce 'Azov sanctions' against Russia next week

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists in Munich that the European Union will approve the “Azov sanctions package" against Russia next week, Interfax-Ukraine reports.

"I have no doubt that in the near future, at the beginning of next week, after coordinating efforts with Ukraine, sanctions will definitely be adopted in Brussels,” Poroshenko stated. He said that the "the Azov sanctions package" against Russia was discussed with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations James Risch.

"Today, the sanctions package consists of 124 pages and this is the price that Russia will have to pay for the act of aggression against Ukraine [in the international waters of the Black Sea] will be increased,” the President stressed.

Poroshenko also requested that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin hold the meeting this Sunday with "Ukraine's friends," in order to “discuss coordination of actions to extend sanctions".

Earlier media reported that the EU agreed on sanctions against eight Russians because of the incident with the Ukrainian sailors.

“NATO firmly demands that Russia release our prisoners of war, our sailors, and condemns Russia’s aggression in the Kerch Strait,” Poltorak added.

On 25 November last year, Russia attacked and captured the Ukrainian military boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu in neutral waters. All 24 Ukrainians on board were accused of violating the Russian state border, arrested, and transferred from Kerch to Moscow. Ukraine considered this an act of military aggression, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the captured sailors as prisoners of war.

US President Donald Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the Kerch Strait incident. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker similarly called off his scheduled negotiation session with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.

Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in December that Ukraine had invited its international partners to take part in a passage of naval ships from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. The Russian media warned that this could “aggravate the situation”.

  Poroshenko, Ukraine, Russia, EU, Azov Sea