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www.wmfd.com - The sanctions announced Monday are the most comprehensive the West has imposed against Russian officials since the Cold War. }}" />

European Union Punishes Russia With Sanctions

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 3/19/2014

The sanctions announced Monday are the most comprehensive the West has imposed against Russian officials since the Cold War. Even so, they're considered to be lacking much bite. CNN's Jim Bitterman has a closer look. Less than a day after the Crimean referendum, denounced by the West as having no validity, European foreign ministers unanimously voted to sanction eight top Crimean officials, 10 people from Russia, including members of parliament and three military personnel, who they say are directly involved in Moscow's attempt to divide Crimea from the Ukraine. For the EU's foreign policy head, a clear message has been sent. "I really hope we will see a de-escalation, a chance for Ukraine to be a country with territorial integrity," says Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Policy Chief. Others were talking an even harder line, warning that tougher steps could lie ahead if Russia completes plans to annex the Ukraine. A French expert on Russia said another sanctions list or more than 100 additional individuals has been circulating among the Europeans. "The Russian power is structured around the oligarchs, in the next stage if you start hitting for instance the bosses of the big energy companies in Russia, Gazprom, Rosneft,of course the Russian answer is going to be retaliation," says Jacques Rupnik of Sciences-Po University. "We can also retaliate and you will not be getting our gas." The Europeans will have a chance to rachet up their sanctions during a summit meeting of European leaders later this week, but for now the intention seems to be send a message but keep the diplomatic channels open. At least one reason for that is that getting involved in the Ukrainian situation is not very popular among voters here. An opinion poll published in France over the weekend indicates nearly two-thirds of the French and more than half of the Germans are not even in favor of economic aid to the Ukraine.

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