Third Round of Sanctions on Hold for Now, Paet Says ({{commentsTotal}})

The EU foreign ministers condemned the so-called referendums in eastern Ukraine as invalid and added 13 people to the list of sanctions, economic sanctions are considered only if OSCE negotiations fail.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet told ETV on Monday that the foreign ministers decided to add more people to the list of sanctions that include visa bans and asset freezes.

The ministers also decided to expand the criteria of the second phase of sanctions to include legal persons involved with the referendum in Crimea and Sevastopol.

Paet said the third phase of sanctions will be imposed if the events escalate before the presidential elections on May 25. The third stage of sanctions - extensive economic measures - are on hold while the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is in negotiations with Russia to reach an agreement.

The popular votes held in eastern Ukraine on Monday was condemned by the ministers. “It is a legally void provocation to increase instability and intensify the conflict in Ukraine,” Paet said.

Paet recognized Ukraine’s attempts to overcome the crisis and efforts to implement the points agreed upon in Geneva, such as constitutional reform and decentralization and the amnesty bill.

Cooperation with Ukraine will continue today, when Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will visit Brussels and the EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle will visit Kiev on Friday.