EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday as the bloc mulled which pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists should be hit with sanctions after disputed elections in the east of Ukraine.
Two self-declared breakaway regions in Donetsk and Luhansk held polls on November 2, which have been condemned as illegal by the EU and the United States.
Officials in Brussels said ministers will focus on which individuals should be subject to travel bans and asset freezes.
“We are ready to support these sanctions to physical persons and this will probably be one of the main points on the agenda,” Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters in Brussels.
“Targeted measures against individuals are a must, I believe. Because they are working. They have effect, in spite of some denials. This is really something where we can really make a difference,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius,
He added that the discussion on further sanctions was being held “too late” and that Russia was “still keeping troops on the territory of Ukraine.”
But the EU’s new foreign policy chief said the bloc needs a wider strategy beyond sanctions.
She signed an agreement with Ukraine earlier on Monday to set up an EU mission to reform the country’s security sector.
“It’s time that the European Union and the ministers concentrate also on the other issues that we have to build for having a complete strategy,” said Mogherini.”
“And that means on one side asking the Ukrainians to commit again to reforms and find the ways to better 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 relaunch and engage in a dialogue with Russia.”
But there will no final decision on wider economic sanctions against Russia at today’s talks.
That’s a move that could be made by EU leaders at a summit next month.