E.U. Plans To Freeze Assets Of Putin, Lavrov


The European Union plans to freeze assets of Russian President Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, according to people familiar with the talks.

Neither would be banned from travel in the E.U., the sources said. The move, which comes as the bloc puts final touches on its second round of sanctions and starts working on a third, is expected to be approved Friday afternoon.

European Council President Charles Michel said Friday that there was “urgent preparation” for more sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. “The senseless suffering and loss of civilian life must stop,” he tweeted.

“Second wave of sanctions with massive and severe consequences politically agreed last night,” he continued. “Further package under urgent preparation.”

It was not immediately clear if the asset freezes would go in the second or potential third package.

E.U. officials agreed early Friday morning to sanctions that targeted finance, transportation, and energy, imposed export controls, and included new visa measures. They also added more Russian individuals to a sanctions list.

“The package of massive and targeted sanctions European leaders approved tonight clearly demonstrates that it will have maximum impact on the Russian economy and the political elite,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a news conference after talks concluded early Friday.

However, the second round of sanctions unveiled hours after packages from the United States and the United Kingdom, face criticism for not going after Putin or Lavrov and for failing to cut Russia out of the Swift payment system.

E.U. diplomats said the bloc was split on both issues through Thursday, with some countries pushing the bloc to get tougher on the Kremlin and do more to cut off the Russian economy and others arguing for a more conservative, incremental approach.

On Friday, European politicians lashed out at the holdouts. Former European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday that some member countries had “disgraced themselves” by not hitting Russia harder, naming Italy, Hungary and Germany in particular.