EU agrees to sanction Russia's Putin, Lavrov
The EU is targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with personal sanctions, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell announced.
"President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov are on the list of sanctioned people together with the remaining members of the Duma (Russian parliament) who are supporting this aggression," Borrell told journalists.
"Let me flag that the only leaders in the world that are sanctioned by the European Union are Assad from Syria, Lukashenko from Belarus and now Putin from Russia," the EU's top diplomat added.
Borrell said a third round of sanctions against Russia was not imminent, but could be instated if necessary.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics earlier signaled in a post on Twitter that the EU's 27 foreign ministers had adopted a second round of sanctions against Russia, including measures against the president and foreign minister.
What did EU foreign ministers say during the sanctions talks?
The bloc's foreign ministers had gathered in Brussels to discuss the latest package of sanctions against Moscow as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues.
"I think we are very close to an agreement, that we will find an agreement here for sanctions" on Putin and Lavrov, Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, earlier said.
On the question of freezing Putin and Lavrov's assets in the EU, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told DW and other news outlets in Brussels that the two Russian leaders "are responsible" for "people dying in Ukraine."
Travel ban on Putin, Lavrov not expected yet
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said the bloc would move forward with freezing the bank accounts of Putin and Lavrov, but added that an EU travel ban for the two leaders was not up for discussion.
"There will be no travel ban against them, though, because we want to retain the possibility of negotiations in order to end the violence in Ukraine," Schallenberg said in Brussels.
The bloc has already hit top Russian officials with asset freezes and travel bans in light of the Kremlin's recognition of the separatist breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and it sending troops into Ukraine.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a call with several northern European allies in Scandinavia and the Baltics on Friday. They agreed that more sanctions would be needed to target "Putin's inner circle," according to Downing Street.
The UK on Friday decided to freeze all assets belong to Putin and Lavrov in the country. The US will also enact sanctions on the two leaders, with the measures including a travel ban.
A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said the sanctions by the West show the "absolute impotence" of their foreign policy. She said Russian ties with the West have almost reached a "point of no return" due to the measures.
wd/msh (dpa, AFP)