The EU Commission leader proposed on Wednesday a new package of Russia sanctions, designed “to make the Kremlin pay” for escalating the conflict in Ukraine with what she called “sham” votes in occupied territory. “We do not accept the sham referenda and any kind of annexation in Ukraine, and we are determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation,” she told reporters in Brussels.
The sanctions package will lay the legal basis for an oil price cap and ban EU citizens from sitting on governing bodies of Russian state-owned companies, she said.
The proposal will now go to the bloc’s 27 member countries, which will need to overcome differences on the new sanctions and reach unanimity to implement them.
That may take time despite the EU being spurred into action by Russia’s partial military mobilisation, nuclear threats to the West and moving to annex a swath of Ukraine.
Earlier on Wednesday, a senior economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the EU to further cut money flows to Russia from fossil fuel sales.
Mr Coveney said Ireland would not recognise the results of the votes which he described as an attempt by Russia to gain control of parts of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.
Speaking during a visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Coveney said: “We think the process has been a sham.
“We think it has been a rushed effort by Russia to try to gain control of parts of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.
“We will not recognise the results of referendums that we don’t believe truly reflect what people in those parts of Ukraine actually want.”