EU adopts sanctions for chemical weapons use
The European Union set up a new sanctions mechanism targeting those who use and develop chemical weapons.
At the meeting in Luxembourg EU foreign ministers agreed to the new measures, which will freeze the assets held in the block by targeted individuals and organisations and ban them from travelling to any of the 28 member states.
The framework gives the European Union the power to impose restrictive measures on anyone identified as being involved in the development or deployment of chemical weapons, regardless of their location or nationality.
"The restrictive measures target persons and entities who are directly responsible for the development and use of chemical weapons as well as those who provide financial, technical or material support, and those who assist, encourage or are associated with them," the European Council said in a statement.
"This decision contributes to the EU's efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security," AFP cited the statement as saying.
After the EU summit in late June, a decision was made to introduce new restrictions to fight against the use of chemical weapons. The step was announced a day after an emergency session of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. The session was convened at the initiative of the UK and the US in connection with the Salisbury poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and also the accusations that the Syrian government forces used chemical weapons. The OPCW members enabled the organization to punish alleged violators by a majority vote. Russia’s envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin dismissed the decision as usurping the exclusive powers of the UN Security Council, TASS recalls.
Head of the Department of Political Science of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Gevorg Mirzayan, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that by doing so the EU seeks to untie its hands to impose sanctions, bypassing the UN Security Council. "The initiators of this initiative want to use chemical reasons to toughen sanctions at the EU level. They do not want to gather the EU council every time due to sanctions issues, since all discussions of sanctions against Russia are met with discontent from a number of European countries. Very complex discussions took place on this topic there on a regular basis: what sanctions should be imposed and what should not be. Now a mechanism is being adopted, according to which, if the EU recognizes a particular organization or certain individuals guilty in using and distributing chemical weapons, the sanctions against them are entered automatically," he explained.
It is not yet clear how quickly this mechanism will be turned against Russia. "There are two options here: either the UK uses some kind of evidence in the Skripale case to put pressure on Russia, or it will be an issue of waiting for new reasons in Syria. At the same time, this document includes sanctions against individuals. For Russia, it will be unpleasant in political terms rather than in economic,” Gevorg Mirzayan noted.
The head of the IMEMO of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexei Kuznetsov, stressed the political flaws of the adopted document. "It was a result of not only hysteria in the EU, but also misunderstood solidarity with the UK as a member of the European Union. I think that time will show later how anti-Russian hysteria really undermined confidence in the European Union as a center of power and culture. Unfortunately, a significant number of Europe's Russophobic politicians do not like our country, and therefore we should expect that "chemical sanctions" will be imposed against Russia very quickly," the expert expects.