The foreign ministers of the European Union countries unanimously agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia over its recognition of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deploying troops there, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.
“The 27 member states [of the EU] have reached an agreement… We unanimously agreed on a package of sanctions [against Russia],” Le Drian told reporters in a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
Borrell said the package of sanctions “will hurt Russia, and it will hurt a lot.”
The package sanctions 351 members of the State Duma, Russia's lower house, who voted in support of recognizing Donetsk and Lugansk regions in east Ukraine. The sanctions also include 27 individuals and entities “who are playing a role in undermining or threatening Ukrainian territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence,” Borrell added.
Le Drian said: “There are also sanctions in our reserve true, if ever Russia decides to go further.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia’s parliament approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use military force outside the country, formalizing the deployment of Russian troops to separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.
This comes a day after he recognized their independence, in a move that further heightened international fears that Russia will invade Ukraine at any moment and provoked the US and the European Union to start implementing sanctions against Moscow.
Currently, over 150,000 Russian troops have surrounded Ukraine from three sides.